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UNIV jf\ 

ILLINOIS \*$Kfi , 







The Historical Committee for the Centennial 

19 3 9 


HARDIN County has contributed Largely to Illinois 
history' and we cannot fully comprehend the story 
of our beloved county unless we know someuYng 
of the trials and triumphs of the people who have given 
to Hardin County its prominence in the state and national 

It is the aim jf the authors to present the important 
facts in the history of Hardin County in chronological or- 
der and in a brief and tangible shape without making any 
attempt at rhetorical display. 

Grateful acknowledgements are due the Historical 
committee composed of the following persons: E. N. Hall, 
R. F. Taylor, A. A. Miles, Robert Gustin and Sidney Hainan 
for their untiring efforts in assembling and preparing the 
material and facts here presented. 

The history of Hardin County has been written as a 
part of the Centennial celebration which was observed 
on Thursday, March 2nd, 1939 by the opening of court 
in regular session with Circuit Judges Roy Pearce, W. 
Joe Hill and Blaine Huffman sitting in a body with County 
Judge James G. Gullett. The early history of the county 
from the date of organization up to July 4, 1876 as had 
been prepared by L. F. Twitchell, Franklin Dimick, John 
Vinyard, Elihu Oxford, Edward Shearer and John Mitch- 
ell was read and ordered to be made a permanent record 
of the Circuit Court and of the County Court of Hardin 
County that it might be preserved for succeeding gener- 

The principal address was delivered by David A. 
Warford, a native of Hardin County but now an attorney 
at law of Marion, 111. Many other former residents of the 
county made short talks. 

The program for the evening was prepared and pre- 
sented by the schools of Hardin county under the direc- 



tion of County Superintendent Clyde L. Flynn. Musical 
numbers were furnished by the Elizabethtown and Rosi- 
clare grade schools and the Rosiclare High School. The 
spelling contest was conducted with great interest and 
enthusiasm and the winners were Mrs. Margaret Green 
Howse, first; Mrs. Ella McDonald, second; and Ruey M. 
Rash, third. Everyone enjoyed the program and it was de- 
cided to hold a more elaborate celebration on July 2nd, 
3rd and 4th at Elizabethtown. 

A meeting was called on March 28th for the purpose 
of getting plans under way for the celebration to be held 
on July 2nd, 3rd and 4th and the following executive com. 
mittee was selected with a representative from each pre- 
cinct of the county. 

James A. Watson, Chairman; R. F. Taylor, Vice 
Chairman; Clyde L. Flynn, Secretary; and the following 
committeemen from each precinct: Otis Lamar, East Ros- 
iclare; W. C. Karber, West Rosiclare; Eschol Jackson, 
McFarlan; C. C. Kerr, Cave-in-Rock; R. F. Austin, Rock 
Creek; Chas. N. Hill, Battery Rock; Guy Hale, East Mon- 
roe; J. H. Banks, West Monroe. 

It was decided that the celebration commence on Sun- 
day, July 2nd with a homecoming in all churches of the 
county and to be continued on the 3rd and 4th at Eliza- 
bethtown, the county seat town. 

In view of the great task of planning and completing 
arrangements for this celebration the following commit- 
tees were appointed for the task : Finance, W. C. Karber, 
Otis Lamar, E. F. Wall, Jr.; Schools, J. H. Banks, Loren 
E. Denton, W. E. Jackson, Ray Oxford, H. W. Bear, Dora 
Young, Fred Wheeler, Evans Young, Walter W. Hamil- 
ton; Antiques, Grace H. Kenney, Essie Robinson, Etta Car- 
ter, Gwendolyn Oxford; Agriculture, Chas. N. Hill, Glen 
C. Smith, Eschol Oxford, M. J. Koch; Mines, A. A. Miles; 
Churches, R. F. Austin, L. T. Rash, Dewey Green, John 
Suits; Fraternities and Civic Organizations, Guy Hale, J. 


L. Hosick, Joe Frailty, Wiley Cochran, J. W. Hill, Winnie 
Lovier, Charlotte Gullett, Lena Travis, Gladyne Richards; 
Forests. W. D. Gissen, Forester; Publicity, C. C. Kerr, 
Sarah Porter; Registration, Otis Lamar; Concessions, W. 

E. Jackson, Chas. D. Ledbetter, Oscar Rice; Parades, 
Woodrow Frailey, Guy Hale. J. H. Banks, Chas. Hill, R. 

F. Austin; History, E. N. Hall, A. A. Miles, R. F. Taylor, 
Robert Gustin, Sidney Hainan. 

The question of finance was the major problem hi 
connection with the celebration and after due consider- 
ation the honorable board of County Commissioners, 
John Gintert, Raymond Rose and Chas. M. Austin agreed 
to underwrite the proposition for $500 which wss guaran- 
teed by some sixty-five good loyal citizens of the county 
to be repaid by receipts from concessions and other 
sources of revenue. A. D. Paris was given the responsi- 
bility of securing donations from merchants, business and 
professional men and others of the county of which he 
did an exceptionally good job. 

The work of this history is divided into well defined 
units of study, and each chapter is written by a different 
author who has endeavored to bring to the young citizens 
of Hardin County an appreciation of the dramatic history 
of their county. 

The authors are deeply indebted to many citizens of 
Hardin County who have freely given advice, suggestions 
and material assistance in publishing this history of Har- 
din County. 

Clyde L. Flynn. 



(Judge Hall) 

Our committee has given me the privilege of writing 
the first chapter in the historical sketch of Hardin County; 
thereupon readers may excuse me for offering a few 
\tords by way of introduction. 

History has been rather loosely defined as a record 
of past events; but it is far more than a mere statement 
of dry facts. History is the measuring of facts; an inter- 
pretation of events, trends, and movements which build 
societies, weld counties into states and nations, and de- 
velop mankind into higher and healthier degrees of en- 
lightenment. Wherefore history has been accorded a 
seat, and a favorite seat, among the learned sciences. 

The Muse of History: 

The Greeks believed that there were nine goddesses, 
called Muses who inspired and presided over the fine arts 
of learning, and that Clio, the Muse of history, was the 
wisest of the Muses. They further believed that Clio's 
inspired quill sketched the story of mankind, beginning 
with Deucalion, who not so many years before their own 
days, tided himself and family over the flood in his own 
ark, and so became the father of the Greeks, while the 
other nations; that is, "the heathens" grew up from stones, 
However Clio inspired wise men to write their own im- 
mortal story down to that of Glorious Athens. 

So virtually all the other nations believed that man- 
kind came upon the earth about 4000 years B. C. and like- 
wise believed that they knew their history from the be- 
ginning; nevertheless in recent times it has been discover- 
ered that the time Clio first inspired men to write is what 
scholars have chosen to call the "Dawn of History," and 
that such dates are very far removed from the time of 
man's advent upon the earth. 

As only about one-tenth of a mountainous ice floe 
may be seen above the surface of ocean waters, so it has 
been discovered that only about one-tenth of the story of 
man floats above that wave-line which we call the dawn 
of history. Hence scholars have recently learned that, 
when compared with the whole story of mankind, all his- 
tory is but modern. 

What is Prehistory? 

Such as they know of the story of the human race be- 
fore the Dawn of History, has been named "Prehistory." 
So I have that difficult but pleasing task of writing a 
sketch of that prehistory, which the hills of Hardin County 
could tell, if they would divulge secrets guarded within 
their cryptic caverns ten-thousand years and more. 

Before 1900 scholars began to think of the Old World 
of buried cities and lost empires as a vast field for the 
study of this new branch of knowledge; but they have 
been surprised that in the short space of time since the 
World War facts have come to light proving that our 
own American Continent from Alaska to Patagonia is 
immensely rich in ruins and data for prehistory; hence 
this new science is just now sparkling with interest. 

Our own Hardin County centers in this interesting 
field, and more or less takes its prehistoric coloring from 
the whole field. Prehistory cannot be written with the 
same degree of exactness in dates and locations that his- 
tory copied from original records can be written; but 
scholars very largely judge the prehistory of a certain 
place from that of the region in which it lies. They would 
say that the prehistory of Hardin County is practically 
the same as that of the Ozark regions, because it nestles 
in the arms of those mountains. Perhaps we should also 
think of the two main sources of prehistory as artifacts 
and traditions. Artifacts include the ruins and relics left 
by people who lived before the age of history. Traditions 

include such stories, songs, folklores, and reminiscences 
5s are orally handed down from one generation to anoth- 
er, or from one race to another. 

Hardin County a Choice Site 

That our own Hardin County with her beautiful in- 
terchange of hills and valleys, hanging cliffs and forest 
shelters, clear streams and sparkling fountains has fur- 
nished homes for three distinct races of mankind is not 
any more doubted by investigating scholars. These fav- 
ored attractions gave her a choice place, first place in the 
hearts of the nations. They turned their backs upon the 
swamp-cursed lands all about her to love her and wed 
her. Competent and conclusive evidences for these things 
are to be had, if the writer's humble efforts can arraign 
them before the court of prehistory. 

We know that when the White Man came, he settled 
in Hardin County, pitching his log hut near a fine spring. 

Hardin County was dotted with many settlements with 
their churches, schools, and water mills a hundred years 
before what was called the "Big Flats" had any settlement 
other than a hunter's shack on the highest and driest lands 
here and there. "Many of those who did try to settle in 
the flat lands," pioneers said, "had the 'shakes' till they 
turned yaller, and had to pull stakes for the hills of Har- 
din County." 

One is naturally led to conclude that these same con- 
ditions prevailed when the Red Man came before the 
White Man, and that they also existed when the Mound 
Builder came before the Red Man. These mountains 
promised not only natural shelters, wholesome waters, 
and good health to each coming race of men, but they 
offered the more immediately pressing needs of food and 
sustenance. The heavy forests of Hardin County abound- 
ed with nuts, fruits, and honey, the bluff ranges with 
game, rhe grassy glades with deer, and the streams with 

fjs.h; while acres of wild rye stood in the valleys, bushels 
of acorns lay under trees, and wild sweet potato roots 
in the ground, all waiting to be pounded into meal for 
hot johnnycakes and jumped-up hoecakes for all three 
races of mankind. 

Indians called the oak "The King of Forests," and no 
doubt Mound Builders held that wonderful tree fam- 
ily in like esteem, for kettles filled with acorns and with 
acorn meal have been unearthed buried in ancient city- 
sites and in mounds. Perhaps these were borne by the 
fruitful oak 3000 or more years ago. In fact the heavy 
mastfall from Ozark Oaks gave man meal for his bread 
and also fattened his meat till only a few years ago when 
a heartless commerce discovered the oak was prized for 
furniture; then it was swept from the forests. However 
lo use the fine figure of the Hebrew poet, prehistoric Har- 
din County was "a land flowing with milk and honey." 

Why a Hunters Paradise 

There were yet other conditions favoring prehistoric 
Hardin County for the abode of man, and we are now 
ready to consider proof that these existed at the time the 
ancient Mound Builder occupied our county. Pioneers 
very early observed that deer and other ruminant ani- 
mals here had migratory habits. These passed the sum- 
mer months very largely on the plains to the north, but 
they returned to Hardin County and other Ozark regions 
for winter quarters. No doubt there were more than one 
urge for those movements. In winter seasons rains, snows, 
and icy swamps naturally drove them to lands provided 
with natural shelters; but without doubt deergrass fur- 
nished the main urge, for strange to say, it drove animals 
from the hills in summer and invited them back in winter. 

This unusually rank grass covered the Ozark ridges 
from knee high to shoulder high to a man. It was some- 
what of the nature of sorghum cane; when growing it was 

succulent, puckery in taste, and altogether unsavory for 
pasturage. However in late fall deergrass ripened and 
sweetened; then bowing down and curing under frosts 
and snows, it provided that most valuable ruminant fam- 
ily with the best winter forage an All-wise Creator ever 
gave to tide them over the bleak days of winter. Hence 
up till later pioneer days large herds of animals left oar 
hills in summer to return here as soon as winter proven- 
der was needed. Herds of buffaloes were among those 
migrating; but they were not forest animals; they were 
the first to go, when the powder and lead of the White 
Man came. Judging from the lay of the lands as well as 
from other inferences, we. may safely aver that these 
movements and advantages existed for Hardin County 
2000 years ago at the coming of the Red Man, and 5000 
years ago at the coming of the Mound Builder. But the 
most competent evidence is yet to be considered. 

Hardin County's First Race 

So far as is known now the Mound Builder was the 
aboriginal race of Hardin County. The Mound Builder 
is the least known, yet the best known of any ancient race. 
Judging from tradition, he is the least known; no ditty, 
no psalm, no poem, not one word has come down from his 
lost race or from his vast American Empire. Neverthe- 
less judging from artifacts, the Mound Builder is the best 
known of the prehistorically ancient. His imperishable 
earthworks have told a wondrous story. His vast em- 
pire was built upon river commerce. City sites, mounds, 
pounds, playgrounds, etc. lay along or near all the rivers, 
but wherever a river ceased to be navigable, he ceased to 
build. In his mounds and buried factories are found the 
most exquisitely ornamented pottery ever made by raaa, 
and the finest cloth known to the weaver's art, as well as 
the most beautifully bedecked clothes known to the art of 

A few mounds were left in Hardin Coumty and ad- 
joining counties, but most of them have been ploughed 
down, till hundreds, maybe thousands have been lost since 
the coming of White Men to the Ozark plateaus. For- 
tunately there is a public sentiment now seeking to pro- 
tect at least the more conspicuous mounds and other 
earthworks which have come down from that ancient race- 
Monks Mound near East St. Louis which covers about 13 
acres of land and is still 100 feet high is protected by our 
own state. So also the Great Serpent Mound of Ohio pre- 
senting a gigantic but beautiful serpentine figure almost 
a mile long is protected by the state of Ohio. 

Prehistoric Tolu 

However tempting this subject is in its general sur- 
vey, I must turn to the Mound Builder in or at the door- 
ways of our own county. Prehistoric Tolu, Kentucky 
which stood facing the hunting grounds of our county was 
an amazing example of Mound Builder's work here. Tolu 
was a walled city like ancient Jerusalem and Babylon. 
White pioneers found the walls of that prehistoric city 
broken down and covered with debris in places. For 200 
years pioneers and their progeny have hauled building 
stones from that wall. Many other stones have succumb- 
ed to disintegration, yet there are foundation stones in 
that wall which are estimated to weigh a ton and more. 
Moreover a subway led under that wall and under the 
ground to a spring of copious waters almost a quarter of 
a mile away and which was securely hidden from the eyes 
of strangers by a high creek bank and willow growths. 
South of that city something like a hundred acres are cov- 
ered from three to five feet deep with chippings from 
river shells. I examined these studiously and found a 
number of shells which are not to be seen in the Ohio 
river in our day, and if I interpret geology correctly they 
belonged, or at least some of them, to shell animals that 


are extinct in our age. We may safely conclude that 
Ancient Tolu, whatever name Mound Builders knew it by, 
was a busy trinket factory, a mint, and banking center; 
because as their artifacts prove, they used a shell money 
system. Indians might have borrowed the use of wam- 
pum from them. 

Prehistoric Corrals 

On the north edge of Hardin County, and which at 
one time was within its limits, are yet to be seen the 
wreckage of The Pounds walls. These walls extending 
east and west from the gateway were really one wall al- 
most a quarter of a mile in length. Oldest men whom I 
questioned in my boyhood days agreed that this wall was 
six feet thick; but some believed that this wall and the 
one around Old Stone Fort on the same mountain trend 
were originally eight feet high, while others believed they 
were as much as ten or even twelve feet high, especially 
near the gateways and at the ends. 

These were at first believed to be Indian forts; for 
the wreckage of eight or ten have been discovered in our 
Ozark ranges. Some Philadelphia scholars came to 
Shawneetown in pioneer days and proceeded to make a 
thorough examination of The Pounds. Their verdict was 
that those structures were pounds built for corralling ani- 
mals. One mark that they relied upon for their conclu- 
sion was the site of an old buffalo wallow, which may yet 
be seen just below the only spring on The Pounds.- An 
old buffalo trail and a wallow is to be seen at Old Stone 
Fort, as well as in other places where similar inclosures 
were built. Evidences are rather conclusive that these 
pounds were built by Mound Builders to entrap buffalo, 
deer, and perhaps wild sheep and goats. A number of 
gaps in bluffs near the center of our county were also 
closed by high rock walls, no doubt for the same purposes 
of entrapping animals when they annually came to our 

lountains for winter shelter and deergrass provender. 
Uncle John Bishop, who taught the writer to bunt in 
his early teens, pointed out two bluff-gaps in the Rock 
Creek bluffs, where walls had been thrown down by men 
i for building stones for chimneys, flag stones for 
walkways, etc. He furthermore said that there were a 
half-dozen such walls or parts of them inclosing gaps in 
those bluffs when he himself was a boy. 

I le George Joyner, a pioneer settler of Stone Fort, 
in answer to boyish questions of the writer told of driving 
deer into Old Stone Fort, and of the advantages of that ill- 
closure for corralling animals. The South Fork of Saline 
river hugs closely to that bluff, and as it follows a north- 
easterly course there for more than a mile it has or did 
have a high bank on the north shore. Animals coming to 
that high bank in seeking to elude drivers or pursuers, 
natur; Ily followed up the stream, but instead of finding a 
cross]?;:;,', they encountered a bank growing more precip- 
itous, till at length it turned into a bluff; then farther up 
they came to the gateway into the inclosure When they 
entered that, they were inclosed by a bluff on the south a 
hundred feet high, and a half-moon shaped wall on the 
north joining hard at the bluff edge on the west. Cer- 
tainly no ancient Nimrod could have selected a better site 
for corralling animals anywhere else in those mountains. 

The Fat Man's Grief 

Sin uld a frightened animal jump over the bluff, it 
could be followed by what pioneers called "The Fat Man's 
Grief. '" This is a path leading down the bluff so narrow 
that ; fat man who attempts to descend by it may be 
brougl t to grief. Strang* *o say, there is a fat man's grief 
on th w< stern limb of The Pounds bluff, one in Johnson 
* cid another in Jackson County, all leading down 

fro d ci rr lis. No doubt those narrow passages 

w< ■ s< iected or worked out to permit men, but not ani- 
on U ! I< scend the bluffs. 

Uncle William Winters, of Civil War fame, now in 
his nineties, and Uncle Owen Curry his nephew in his 
i ighties tell of corralling deer in The Pounds. One, day 
they drove two into the gateway, which they left guarded 
by two trusty dogs; but when the deer discovered thai 
they v/< r< hemmed, they jumped over the bluff into the 
lops of the timber below. One jumped into the fork of 
a small hickory tree, which splitting down .1 little way 
held the deer fast, where it died before they fell the 
tree. They did not find the other at all. They believe 
that the boughs of the trees and underbrush bore it un- 
crippled to the ground, securing its escape. 

The stones in The Pounds wall before they were bat- 
tered and broken were of a flag-stone nature weighing 
from about 50 to 75 pounds. They are of the same con- 
sistency as those under the bluff in a drainway about a 
quarter of a mile from the wall. In that day long before 
it was discovered that steam could lift the lid of a teaket- 
tle, those thousands of stones were cither carried around 
and up that steep bluff-way, or were drawn upon the 
bluff by thongs and ropes. Both means might have been 
used, but either or both required an immense amount of 

Mound Builders Not Indians 

l\ was once written in our histories that these pre- 
historic structures were the workmanship of Indians for 
forts, but this conjecture is a historical error. Nature 
built the only fort an Indian ever wished for, because am- 
bush was his fort. Neither was he a builder. He did not 
build anything or work at any trade. Looking upon all 
as menial, he pursued his chase or war-path, leaving 
his improvised tepee to be built by squaws and 
Neither did Indians build the massive walls of 
ancie u, or dig its subway to that city's water supply. 

>1 build the stone bison traps and pounds found 

in Hardin County and in every other county in these Ozark 
spurs and ranges. 

The Mound Builder was altogether a different man 
from the Indian. He was a larger man than either In- 
dians or Caucasians. He had a long head, which ethnolo- 
gists call a dolichocephalic head, while the American In- 
dian had a round head with a cephalic index of 80 and 
more. It is now believed that the two races came from 
different continents; and that oft-repeated question of 
"How did the Mound Builders first and the Indians later 
come to America?" have been recently and rather con- 
clusively answered. 

Geodetic surveys prove that the mighty centrifugal 
forces of the earth are gradually inching the massive land 
divisions towards the equator, leaving more room towards 
the poles for seas and bays. The artic coasts are known 
as sinking coasts. They believe that 8000 years ago 
Mound Builders could have crossed by way of Greenland 
and Labrador dry shod to America. They probably be- 
longed to that ancient stalwart Neanderthal Race. Their 
cranial and skeletal measurements are similar. It might 
have been that prehistoric race of gigantic men that Moses 
referred to when he wrote. "In those days there were 
giants upon the earth." 

Animal Ascendencies 

Mound Builders came to our country in time to build 
an empire in the Mississippi Valley before what Zoologists 
call "The Buffalo Ascendency." This was one of the 
strangest freaks known of the animal kingdom. How- 
ever scientists claim that prehistoric Hardin County has 
known two of these freaks (I may call these for the use of 
a better term). The saurian ascendency first reigned su- 
premely here. Along the shores of our rivers where our 
homes and towns now stand there stalked big oil-, 
lizzards a hundred feet long and beside which an elephant 


would have appeared a mere midget. Furthermore flying 
from spur to spur of our Ozark hills, maybe all the way 
from High Knob to the Ben Taylor Tower, were pterodac- 
tyls, which had wing-spreads outmeasuring the wings of 
our largest air-planes and beak-like jaws and teeth more 
dangerous in appearance than those of alligators. It is 
said that man had not come to live in our county at that 
time, and the writer knows one man who is pleased that 
he missed that ascendency of brontosaurs, dinosaurs, and 
pterodactyls in prehistoric Hardin County. 

However the American Bison ascendency played a 
rather conspicuous role on the stage with all three races 
of men in our hills. Early white men standing on a bluff 
or other prominence have estimated that they have seen 
herds of buffaloes like a sea on the plains, and having, 
they believed, a million head. Perhaps in order to break 
up such overcharged herds, they had a habit of dashing 
into a panic stricken rush called a buffalo stampede. 
Pioneers claimed that this was the most fearful sight ever 
witnessed on the Great Plains of America. Under the 
thunderous roar of a buffalo stampede, it is said that the 
earth trembled as if it were in the throes of a mighty 

Early historians believed that Indians drove Mound 
Builders from their vast empire in the Mississippi Valley, 
but some later scholars believe that it is more probable 
that they were driven from their homes by the untamable 
buffalo ascendency. What few they could trap in moun- 
tain pounds in Hardin and her sister counties did not 
effect their mad onrush. 

Be this as it may, it is well known that the mad, 
stampeding buffalo held Indian prowess in check on the 
Great Plains. The scattered tribes that settled there were 
driven in by stronger and more war-like tribes, and then 
they sought bluffs, rugged lands, or forested strips along 
rivers for protection from the beastly buffalo and his wild 


stampedes. Buffaloes were the tyrants of the American 
plains from the Rocky mountains to the beginning of the. 
Hardwood Belt in the state of Ohio. 

That beastly tyranny might have domineered the vast 
plains of America for two or three thousand years without 
a waver or shadow of turning, till the coming of the in- 
vincible White Man on his horse. The buffalo had no 
fear of man nor of beast; but when man sat astride of a 
horse, that seemed to form an impression upon the bully 
beast of Pegasus, the winged horse, and from it he fled 
pell-mell. About 1870 a fad for Buffalo rugs and robes 
leaped into vogue as if it came in overnight both in Amer- 
ica and Europe. During the next thirty years it is esti- 
mated that two millions of these animals were shot down 
every year. Sixty million buffaloes fell upon the plains; 
Iheir hides were taken and their bodies left for beasts 
and birds. History has no record or anything like that 
destruction of animal life. Thereafter no more buffaloes 
were driven into the pounds of Hardin County, or deer 
either. His stampedes had stood at bay two strong races 
of men, but the third race brought buffaloes to extinction 
or near it in the unbelievable space of thirty years. 

The Red Man of the Forests 

However, previous to this event Indians followed 
Mound Builders in that prehistoric drama of Hardin 
County and other Ozark regions. It is believed that per- 
haps the Red Man held possession of our county more 
than a thousand years before the coming of Europeans. 
Recent ethnologists hold that there can be no mistake 
that the American Indian is a descendant of the ancient 
Mongolian Race of Central Asia. Theodore Roosevelt, 
Jr. aptly called the Desert of Gobi "The Dead Heart of 
Asia." From that mad climate 5000 years ago, Mongo- 
lians fled to the four winds. The sinking Alaska Penin- 
sula was then a wide isthmus over which unnumber J 
tribes crossed to America. 


It is one of the discoveries of prehistory that the 
tribes of mankind multiply prolifically in the tonicy cli- 
mates of northlands, while they suffer loss and decima- 
tion in the pestilential south; hence tribes generally and 
steadily move from north to south. The mighty empires 
of southern lands like Rome, Babylon, and Jerusalem 
have fallen before onrushing wild tribes from northlands. 
At the coming of the White Man to our country this move- 
ment was in full force and effect among Indian tribes. 
The fierce Iroquois were driving Algonquian tribes 
southward from New York and the Great Lakes. The 
Algonquians had pushed the Shawnees from Ohio and 
Indiana down to Shawneetown, and Tolu with Hardin 
County lying between as their chief hunting grounds. In 
return the Shawnees were bloodily clashing with tribes 
south of them, which gave that region the name of Ken- 
tucky; that is, "Dark and Bloody Grounds." At this time 
as Cherokees said, "the Pale Faces" came, but the Shaw- 
nees called white men "Big Knives," because they carried 

Prehistoric Trails 

Now I am edging upon the borders of history, which 
belong to other writers in our committee. But the line 
between tradition and history has never been surveyed. 
Like hope and prayer, it is difficult to tell where one ends 
and the other begins. I must not close without adding a 
few words pertaining to the famous Indian trails of Har- 
din County. These trails virtually all connected Shaw- 
neetown, Equality, and Tolu. These were famous Shaw- 
nee cities, but they were noted cities under Cherokee rule, 
before Shawnees drove them southward; and we have al- 
ready noted evidence which prove that they were also 
famous under the rule and prowess of Mound Builders. 
Furthermore there can be little doubt that those trails 
were well-trodden paths when nuts were first jarred from 


topmost twigs of our giant forests by resounding war- 
whoops of "Big Injuns." North and west Shawnees were 
held in check by Illini and Tamaroas, which were like- 
wise Algonquin tribes. Illinois was named for the Illini, 
which meant Big Men. 

The Saline and Ohio rivers were the main avenues of 
trade between these cities. Birch-bark canoes carried 
salt from the "Salt Spring" of Equality and the "Salt 
Licks" of Shawneetown to Tolu for that city and a num- 
ber of villages on the Hardin County side. These canoes 
returned with supplies of shell beads, trinkets, and wam- 
pum from the shell factories of Tolu. 

'But the main land trail w r hich traversed our 
county began at Equality proceeding southeastward 
to the Salt Spring, where it was joined by a branch 
trail from Shawneetown. From that juncture it pro- 
ceeded to Potts Kill Spring, where there was a vil- 
lage. Here it branched and passing through the moun- 
tain gap near the present site of Thos. Clanton's Store, it 
entered Shawnee Hollow, and from time immemorial has 
been known as Shawnee Hollow Trail. This crossed the 
mountain pass again near Keeling Church and School into 
Hosick Creek, which led on to the river opposite Tolu. 
This trail was famous for its game long after the White 
Man came, and it must have been even more so before a 
Big Knife had set foot upon it. It would be only a mat- 
ter of conjecture to try to estimate the number or amount 
of flint arrow heads, hatchets, skinning knives, pipes, etc. 
that have been picked up for the past 200 years along the 
trail threading its way through that deep hollow. How- 
ever, one could safely place the estimate in tons of Indian 

Another trail which was really a branch trail slipped 
up Pounds Hollow to The Pounds, and from there it fol- 
lowed Big Creek to the Illinois Furnace and joined the 
Shawnee Hollow trail as it was leaving that hollow for 


the Keeling Gap and Hosick Creek depression. Anoth- 
er followed the trend of the mountains southwestward 
from Equality to Herod Gap where it also divided. One 
trail crossing the valleys of Rose and Hicks creeks avoid- 
ed the mountains by following Walrabs Mill Creek till it 
also joined the Big Creek and Shawnee Hollow trails. 
The other branch followed Big Grandpier creek to a few 
villages near some large springs along the river. From 
these it followed the river passing the sites of Rosiclare 
and Elizabethtown to their village and ferry near the 
mouth of Hosick Creek. 

The Bloody Fords Road Trail 

These were well-traveled hunting trails following 
creeks and valleys always well supplied with game and 
water. In fact hunting necessarily had to be done more 
or less by trails, because it was a tiresome task to travel 
through the high grass most seasons of the year. How- 
ever the shortest route connecting Equality and Shawnee- 
town with Cave-in-Rock and Tolu, and the one travelled 
for other intercourse than hunting and fishing trips was 
that famous trail taken over by White Men and named 
Fords Road for Esquire James Ford, who rebuilt Fords 
Ferry and Tolu. This noted trail divided towards the 
southern terminus into two branches for Fords Ferry 
cine? Cave-in-Rock, where there were large Shawnee vil- 
lages at the coming of Caucasian Big Knives. 

If we may rely upon the traditionary^ history of Shaw_ 
nees, that 25-miles of path was famous as a war-path. 
Here Cherokees and other tribes driven southward met 
their Waterloo defeats under such famous Shawnee 
Chiefs as Logan the Eloquent and Tecumseh the Wise. 
Here also that favorite path was marked and colored with 
blood when Shawnee later clashed with Big Knives. 
Nevertheless that 25-miles did not cease to flow with 
human blood even after Indians were gone, if we are to 
believe the voluminous traditions of pioneers; for in those 


( ; wh ii Tories and bandits fled westward from what 
1 i U( d "The Tyrannical Government of George Wash- 
ington and Pat Henry," they set up a rebellious rule of 
clans, hoping to Isold Hardin County for their own, and 
men continued, (to use the speech of that bloody path) to 
"bite the dust of Fords Road." 

Many of those Indian trails became roadways in 
pioneer days, and some of them are traveled to this day. 

ois Route No. 34 slips through Herod Gap and 
I tcln s as the Indian's most western trail of our county 
did to furnish travel both up and down the Ohio river. 
So also Route Xo. 1, though much straighter and shorter, 
follows the Equality Trail pretty well of Indian days and 
of Fords Road of pioneer days, and there is still a road 
avoiding the mountains by following" Shawnee Hollow to 

But by far the most famous road and by far the most 
notorious is the old trail of Fords Road seen in part by 
State Route No. 1. Whole families weirdly disappeared 
on that road never to be heard from again. Virtually 
every mile of it has its murder story as well as its ghost 
story. The folklores of three races of mankind which 
occulty hover about that most notorious path in the Mis- 
sissippi Valley are hoary and bloody, fantastic and mar- 
velous. In Indian days as well as in pioneer days it was 
also spoken of as "the Road of the Werwolf." If Indian 
traditions are to be given credence, hundreds of arrows 
sped from the finest archers at that meddlesome spook, 
but no hair was ever skelped from it by Indian archery. 
Likewise fearless pioneer marksmen whose aim was true 
with the old flintlocks spent many a ball and the powder 
which followed it with a whirling spurt of fire at that 
strange loafer of Fords Road, but no marksman ever drew 
blood from that magic target. Honest pioneers from that 
race of men honored for truth and veracity claim that at 
least three men at different times had tried to kick the 
Werwolf off Fords Road, but that their home-made boots 


slipped through that vicious-looking animal, as if they 
had kicked through a shadow. Many a brave Red Man 
and sturdy White Man have taken to forest paths travel- 
ling some distances around rather than tread the dust 
of that Werwolf Road after sunset. 

Modern readers will ask me, "Now, Mr. Writer, why 
are you writing this ghostly stuff? Do you not know that 
we don't believe a word of this large volume of folklore 
told by Indians and pioneers also?" 

That's perfectly all right; readers may toll me that 
and get by with it easily; but if those brave old Indians 
or sturdy White Men were living, I would not advise any 
one to tell them that thev were lying and try to get bv 
with it. 

The Noble Shawnee s 

Shawnee Indians who called the forest-covered hills 
and sheltered valleys of Hardin County, "Our Happiest 
Hunting Grounds," were intelligent and upright people. 
They would fight before they would break a trust or be- 
tray a friend, and their word sealed by a smoke from the 
peace-pipe was as good as any man's bond. It has been 
said that Chief Tecumseh was the wisest unlettered man 
that ever lived. He preached a crusade uniting Red Men 
to resist encroachment of Big Knives. His war trumpet 
was a long-necked gourd said to be five feet long. When 
that mighty trumpet sounded, Indian war-whoops also 
sounded in the din of battle. In the battle of the Thames 
near Lake Erie, however, Tecumseh fell; his trumpet 
ceased, and Indians fled to the four winds. When that 
wise Chief who ruled Hardin County went down to rise 
no more, Indian rule and gallantry also went down to rise 
no more. A third race had come to possess these hills. 

It is said that Frederick the Great, who was the 
most learned man of his times, was a great admirer of 
history; but when he found time to read, he would say 


to his servant, "Jimmy, bring me my liar." The servant 
understood that the king wished his history brought to 

All History Biased 

So wise men in general have held history to be far 
from an unbiased report of the acts of men and nations; 
but it is the humble opinion of the writer of this brief 
sketch that the biggest untruth in all history is that biased 
story of the American Indian found in United States his- 
tories. There were hundreds of treaties entered into 
between Europeans and Indians, but these were all broken 
by White Men, except one. That one made under the 
historic elm with William Penn was the only one never 
sworn to and the only one never broken. Bancroft, the 
most trustworthy of American historians, says, "There 
was never a drop of Quaker blood shed by an Indian, or 
of Indian blood shed by a Quaker." They told William 
Penn on that famous day that they would live in peace 
with him and his tribe so long as the sun and moon con- 
tinued to shine, and they kept their word. 

The facts are that domineei^ng Big Knives broke all 
teatries, and tried to enslave Red Men by whole tribes. 
Failing in this, they proceeded to drive them from their 
homes and lands, shooting them down as they would shoot 
s of jungles, and because Indians would not succumb 
to such inhuman treatment and raised their hands in de- 
fense of their homes and families, American history wrote 
them down as savages unworthy the consideration of 
civilized people. 

But as I was leading up to say, the Shawnees who 
ruled our own county were a learned people; that is, if 
one would be allowed to use the term "learned" for the 
quaint knowledge and wisdom they cultivated and re- 
vered. They had and wished to have only one book, but 
that was the "Book of Nature given by the Great Spirit." 
The habits and habitudes of animals, trees with their 


fruits, barks, and juices, and herbs with their healing 
properties were common knowledge to them. They knew 
the stars of the firmament and grouped them into constel- 
lations which agree so well with Mongolian astrology that 
there can be no mistake that they came from a common 
source. They furthermore were a chaste people, true to 
family vows and ties. Divorce and illegitimacy were vir- 
tually unknown among them. 

When the deadly milk-sick plague swooped down up- 
on pioneer Hardin County with an awful death scourge 
for man and beast, settlers began to move to settlements 
north and west towards Vandalia, because they superstit- 
iously reasoned among themselves that these hills infest- 
ed by wicked clans were at length justly cursed by 
heaven's decree. However, in the time of that dire ca- 
lamity, it was a Shawnee medicine woman, who led Doc- 
tor Anna Bigsby into the forests to teach her "White Sis- 
ter" the cause of the milk sick plague. She showed her 
the deadly snake-root herb, saying that it must be first 
destroyed before White people and their cattle could live 
in these mountains. 

The Shawnee's Signal System 

When I assert that Shawnees used a system of wire- 
less telegraphy in the hills of our county, it may surprise 
some readers who have been schooled to that adverse 
view of Indians advanced by U. S. history. Pioneer Big 
Knives did not understand that ingenius invention, and 
were many times made to wonder how Red Men knew that 
their armies were approaching even beyond rivers and 
mountains. Though many times generals had taken the 
utmost precautions to keep strategic plans and movements 
from being revealed, yet in some mysterious way Indians 
foreknew and prepared bloody ambush attacks, or fled 
to safety before an army approached. 

Near Indian village sites along the northern ranges 


of our county were for a long time seen what early set- 
tlers called "coalings." This term also later was applied 
to the iron mining regions of our county, because in them 
were many sites where charcoal had been burnt for use 
in blast furnaces for smelting iron. Charred wood is a 
lasting substance, and remained many years to mark 
places where Shawnees raised their signal fires. 

An Indian lived so near the breast of nature that he 
knew winds and weather intimately. He knew the day 
when smoke would rise steadily towards the zenith cup 
of the heavens. Weather bureaus have since discovered 
that the Creator wisely planned to water the lands by 
sending vast whirlwinds from west to east collecting and 
distributing vapors. From two to five of these pass over 
us a week usually with higher wind and falling weather. 
But there are a few hours, often a whole day, as the cen- 
ters of these cyclonic movements are passing, during 
which the air becomes very quiet, often sultry and ap- 
parently breathless, but during these hours the air is 
steadily rising and .carrying smoke upward in straight 

The mother buzzard knows these hours and days 
quite well, and she leaves her bluff retreats of our coun- 
ty with her bevies, and without efforts of wings or pinions 
they circle upward, being lifted by rising currents aloft to 
high altitudes, where in their circles they naturally turn 
anti-clockwise, as all whirlwinds turn over our county, 
and as some timber also twists in growing. 

Li ewise the Shawnee's instinctive knowledge of na- 
ture led him to prepare for the centers of rising atmos- 
pheric drifts in order to send up his smoke signals from 
his telegraphic smoke-pit. A blue smoke spoke a certain 
message, a white smoke another, and a black smoke still 
another. At times a blue cone rose from one point, while 
from an adjacent hill a white cone rose, or maybe two 
would rise of the same color, and on the night following 


perhaps their fires would paint the heavens with a radiant 
glow. All these signals were read and interpreted by 
allied chiefs far away. 

A number of these coalings were left on the Oldham 
Hills of our county lying near the Saline and Ohio rivers. 
Night fires and day columns of smoke on that high spur 
could be seen far up the Ohio and Wabash to the north, 
up the Saline to the west, and up Tread Water eastward 
in Kentucky. White men passed up their notices of these 
smoke messages, as a casual fire or burning tepee, and 
thought no more about it, but it came to light many years 
later that on the northern hills of Hardin County in pre- 
historic days there was a wireless system of telegraphy, 
and that this system explained how Red Men came to 
know many things, which many white people believe they 
received through revelations from their prophets 
fortune tellers. Nevertheless this as well as other knowl- 
edge and inventions reveal to us that Hardin County was 
inhabited in prehistoric days by an intelligent race, a 
brave and noble race of men. 

This bush-whacking warfare continued in H 
County till 1813 bloodily fought between three tribes, in 
their free-for-all war. These were the Cherokees, the 

./nees, and the Big Knives (White settlers). How- 
ever, it is believed that Cherokees moved on southward 
ta!:ing less part north of the Ohio river after 1800. It 
is known that Tecuniseh was in Hardin County Terri- 
tory and in Tolu, Kentucky as late as 1808, organizing his 
forces against Big Knives. In 1811 William Henry Harri- 
son whipped the Shawnees out of Tippecanoe, their only 
remaining town in Indiana, and sent them scouting into 
the Illinois Territory. 

Hardin County Abandoned 

In the War of 1812 Teetmisoh advis< i 
join tne bril .Inst the Big Knives. The British com- 


missioned him as brigadier general, but he was killed in 
the battle of the Thames near Detroit in 1813. After this 
his brother, Tenskwatawa the Prophet, took command as 
ruling chief of Shawnees, and virtually gave up the fight. 
Under his rule Shawneetown and Tolu were abondoned, 
and Hardin County with them, as the Shawnees moved 
westward along the Ozark Ranges. So at the time Illi- 
nois became a state in 1818 there were very few Indians 
in our county, and they desired peace with the Big Knives. 

In 1829 the Indian Territory was set aside by the U. 
S. Congress as a permanent reservation for Indians. In 
the next few years many tribes, which had been reduced 
to dwindling number in their wars with Big Knives, were 
moved to reservations in that Territory. Among them 
were the Shawnees, but a few scattering families hiding 
in the Ozarks here and there remained here many years. 
They were called "Stowaways," because they had dodged 
officers in their work of moving Indians to western reser- 
vations, but they gave pioneer settlers no more trouble in 
the way of warfare. 

From this time on Hardin County's main trouble was 
in establishing law and order among a lawless class of 
river pirates, rogues, and highwaymen, who gave her 
trouble for a number of years. 

Gala Days of Irish Miners 

The iron industry did as much later on to invite peo- 
pue to Hardin County, as her beautiful hills, healthful 
waters, and abundant food supplies had been doing from 
time immemorial; but here history begins, and I must 
close for other writers. However, many fine stories have 
come down to us from those gala days through the chan- 
nels of tradition; hence I may claim an interest in them as 
a writer of prehistory. Yet I shall venture only a clos- 
ing one. Uncle Riley Oxford who got his start in boy- 
hood days by hauling "pigs" (pig iron) from Martha Fur- 


nace to the Elizabethtown landing, gave the writer a 
good story, which reveals iron-mining times quite well. 

Hardin County being the first and only mining sec- 
tion then in the West, very few here knew anything about 
iron mining. Uncle Riley said that many Irish workers 
who understood mining came to our county from the 
East, and that they were a gay set of fellows. One Sat- 
urday pay-day a nimble young fellow offered to wager a 
gallon of good whiskey that there was not a man on the 
job who could hit him with a club. Colonel Ferrell who 
was then in his prime of life and who had been somewhat 
of a fighter himself accepted the proffered wager. 

So the bully Irishman walked out with his shillalah 
in hand. An Irish shillalah is a stout cudgel about the 
size of a large hoe handle, but not so long. The hilarious 
crowd found one for Col. Ferrell, and gathered around 
the contestants to see the shillalah bout. The Colonel 
struck at and punched at the young Irishman rather light- 
ly at first, but each of his efforts was skillfully warded 
off with the shillalah of the practiced Irishman. 

At length the contest became more spirited and he 
caught a rather quick lick of Col. Ferrell's which jarred his 
hand painfully and angered the Colonel; whereupon he 
came back with a quick stroke intended to knock the 
bully down. Nevertheless the practiced shillalah again 
caught his club, jerking it from his hand and whirling it 
over the heads of by-standers into the brush. 

Then rubbing his hand, Colonel Ferrell exclaimed, 

"D- n him, fellows, draw out his gallon; I'll pay for it; 

pay for two before I'd fight him again!" 



By Robert A. Gustin 

French Occupancy 

In the year of 1692 the English settlers of Maryland 
were treated to a bit of excitement. Two hundred odd 
Shawnee Indians had appeared on the banks of the Sus- 
quehanna. There near the mouth of the river they 
squatted, as if they intended to make the spot their per- 
manent residence. Suspicious of the Indians' intentions 
the colonists sent officers to investigate — and found the 
leader was a Frenchman, Martin Chartier. Chartier was 
questioned and his siory recorded. According to it, he 
must have been the first man ever to travel the length 
of the Ohio — and strangely enough to the English offi- 
cials, his journey had been eastward. Upstream, he had 
travelled through over a thousand miles of unknown wil- 
derness before he and his band reached to most western 
outposts of the English. 

Perhaps a part of the Ohio, roughly between Pitts- 
burg] the falls at Louisville, had been seen a few 
years previously by LaSallc. But Chartier was undoubt- 
edly the first of any white man on the lower five hundred 
miles of the river. In 1679 he had been one of the men 
with LaSalle, when that explorer was on the Illinois river 
preparing for his first exploration of the Mississippi. La- 
Salle's harsh treatment had caused him to desert in Jan- 
uary 1680. after which he had wandered to the Ohio and 
Wabash Valleys, where he had made friends with the 
Shawnees. There he had lived for several years before 
he with his band migrated eastward, probably to escape 
punishment by the French government for his desertion. 

Martin Chartier: we have no definite proof, still we 
can feel pretty certain that he was the first White to touch 
what is now Hardin County, to trap its streams, explore 


its forests and bills, Jive within its bounds. We can pic- 
ture him, dressed like his Indian companions in fringed 
buckskin shirt and loincloth, leather leggings and mocca- 
sins, carrying Indian weapons, the tomahawk and knife, 
in his belt, a bow and arrows (little chance of him possess, 
ing ammunition for a musket), beaching a canoe with a 
band of Shawnees before the great-mouthed cave which 
overlooked the Ohio, and there camping for the night, 
listening to his braves as they squatted before the camp- 
fire, telling legends of the place. 

Then, before the parly left the following morning on 
its way upstream to the creek of the licks to make a 
supply of salt for which the band had hungered for 
months, possibly Chartier scrawled his name and date 
among the Indian pictographs upon the cave walls. The 
first of all the white man names inscribed there — and like 
so many others, now erased by time along with the crude 
scrawls of French courcurs and voyagcurs who for eighty 
years after his visit camped there on voyages between 
Detroit and New Orleans along the Mauniec-Wabash- 
Ohio-Mississippi route with cargoes of furs or brandy and 
trade goods. Names which in turn were erased or covered 
by the English-speaking banditti and traders and trappers 
of the late seventeen hundreds, the settlers and boatmen 
of the eighteen hundreds, the tourists of today. 

There is no question but what the lug cave facing the 
Ohio river was widely known in early days. 1 1 is indi- 
cated on a number of old French maps made before 1750. 
In fact, "le caverne dans le roc.' 1 the c;ive-in-thc-rock, 
together with 'la riviere au sel," the river to the salt, 
were the only two landmarks shown for Southcastera 

Even later, up until almost 18()0, references to the 
cave on maps and in a few scattered reports are about 
all the record there is concerning Hardin County territory. 
During that early period, the region, like the rest of the 


Western Ohio Valley, was largely unsettled, and unex- 
plored except for a few hunters, it was visited only 
when river travellers camped upon its banks for the 

English Occupancy 

In 1766, just after the English had taken control of 
Illinois from the French, the commercial firm of Bayn- 
ton, Wharton and Morgan, in high hopes of creating a 
boom for the "Far Western Country", sent several con- 
voys of goods down the Ohio and up the Mississippi to the 
Kaskaskia and Gahokia settlements. The booms never 
materialized, and the firm went into the hands of receiv- 
ers; but the journals of the commanders of the boat con- 
voys were preserved; and from them we get our first 
English description of the Hardin County region: 

"Tuesday, March 25th. At eight o'clock this morning 
brought too at an island (it rained and blow'd very hard) 
opposite to which on the west side the river is a large 
rock with a cave in it. At nine sett off again, at one 
o'clock in the afternoon, it rained and blow'd so very 
hard was obliged to bring too, the gale continuing, en- 
camp'd for the night. Came about forty miles since six 
o'clock this morning. Passed several fine islands this 

With rain and gale, Jennings, the writer, must have 
been too busy to spend much time describing the country. 
However, later in the year, Captain Gordon heading 
another convoy writes: 

"August 2nd. We left the Wabash in the evening. 
Next morning we halted near the Saline or Salt Run — of 
which any quantity of good salt may be made. From 
this place the Deputies from the northern Nations were 
sent across the country by Mr. Croghan to the Illinois, to 
acquaint the Commandant and Indian people there of our 
arrival in these parts .... 


August 6th .... In the morning we halted at Fort 
Massac, formerly a French Post, 120 miles below the 
mouth of the Wabash, & 11 below that of the Cherokee 
river (i. e. the Tennessee) The country 25 miles from the 
Wabash begins again to be mountainous, being the N. W. 
end of the Apalachian mountains (sic) which entirely 
terminate a small distance from the river. Northerly — 
they are between 50 & 60 miles across and are scarpt 
rocky precipices. Below them no more highlands are 
to be seen to w.rd as far as those that border the Mexican 
Provinces. The reason of the French's sending a garri- 
son to this place was to be a check on the Cherokee parties 
that came down the river of that name which is navi- 
gable for canoes from their upper towns and who harassed 
extremely the French traders intending to go among the 
Wabash and Shawnee Nations .... 

"Hunters from this post may be sent amongst the 
buffalo, any quantity of whose beef they can procure in 
proper season & salt may be got from the above mentioned 
Saline at an easy rate to cure it. . . . " 

Hardin County Battle Ground 

Gordon's journal was written in 1766. But the coun- 
try near Hardin County remained unchanged for almost 
forty more years. Buffalo was hunted here after 1800, 
when it was still unsettled by whites because it was dan- 
gerous territory — for Indians as well as whites. Here the 
Cherokees from south, the Iroquois from the east fought 
the Shawnee and the other Illinois tribes from the north 
and west in a continuous free-for-all scalp lifting. For 
years Southern Illinois was deserted except for roving 
bands of Indian hunters, or occasionally a small group of 
white hunters from Eastern Kentucky or Tennessee- 
such a group as George Rogers Clark found at the mouth 
of the Tennessee River in 1779 at the time he brought 
his men down the Ohio on his way to a victorious cam- 
paign against the British at Kaskaskia. 


Even in 1801 a river traveler wrote that the whole 
stretch of river between Louisville and Natchez was noth- 
ing but howling wilderness except for small settlements 
at Redbank and Yellowbank, a government post at Fort 
Massac, and a cabin below the big cave. 

The Coming of the Settlers. 

Two years, however, was the beginning of a new era. 
In 1803-1804 Southern Illinois was ceded to the United 
States by the Indians; and in that year the Louisiana Ter- 
ritory was purchased. This purchase gave the Union 
control of the whole of the Mississippi river. Until that 
time, the lower part, including the port at New Orleans, 
had been in the hands of either the Spanish or the French. 
These nations had kept shipments of American produce 
from being floated down to New Orleans and trans: 
pen by ocean vessels to Europe or the Eastern States. 
had delayed the settling of the Mississippi 
and Ohio Valleys, as there was no other way for 

s of thai time to get their farm products to :i n ir- 
by floating it down-river. 
with the Mississippi opened, a tide of emi 
flowed westward from the overcrowded and discontented 
frontiersmen from Kentucky and Tennessee, whose 
had pushed through the Cumberland Gap a gen- 
eration before, and who, feeling crowded wheneve 
r settled within rifle-shot, were pushing still 
: the west; backwoodsmen and Scotch-Irish 
m the Carolinas and Virginias, leaving worn-out 
hill farms and the country of slave-worked plantations 
which they could not compete; enterprising Yan 
en and Germans fom low wage-paying factories 
tsylvania or New York and New England; a 
[of emigrants from persecution in Ireland or 
es in England. 

pari of this tide of migration to wh I I . 
J - ! ■■ states of Indiana and Illinois stopped in the 


region of Hardin County. Some of these folk, from the 
eastern end of the Ohio, came down river in flatboats, 
keel boats, and arks, bringing their few household fur- 
nishings, their stock and farm tools by water. But most- 
ly Hardin County settlers came overland across the wil- 
derness trails of Tennessee and Kentucky. 

Their possessions were few — even the best of ox- 
carts or conestaga wagons had tough sledding over the 
rough hill-and-valley trails. But the men were back- 
woodsmen by birth, their wives and daughters of back- 
woodsmen. Indian fighting and hunting had been the 
men's professions for generations. And in those trades 
they have never been excelled before or since. With them, 
as with the Indians before them, farming was a side line 
to supplement a food supply of game. For them in the 
rough hard life they had to lead any belongings except 
the most essential were a burden. When they traveled, 
they traveled light so that they could travel far. 

With the lone hunter such possessions might con- 
sist solely of weapons: the flintlock long-rifle with its 
powder and shot, together with a knife and hand-axe, 
while inside belted hunting shirt lay an emergency supply 
of venison jerky, johnny-cake, and bag of parched corn 
for food. 

Such lone hunters rarely built more than brush lean- 
to shelters. They did not settle permanently. It was the 
more serious, true backwoodsmen rather than the hunter 
who cleared and settled Hardin County. 

Their possessions, brought by slow ox-cart up through 
Tennessee and Kentucky, consisted of a few cooking ves- 
sels, a spinning wheel and loom, and perhaps quilted or 
pelt coverlets for the cabin; draw-knife, saw and axe for 
tools; the iron parts of shovel, hoe, scythe and plow for 
farming; and of course the precious sacks of seed for 
planting. Possibry some wheat and oats; but never with- 
out seed corn — and with it, to be planted Indian fashion 
in Hi c same patch, seeds for squash, pumpkin and climb- 


ing beans. Nor were seeds for fruit trees forgotten, par- 
ticularly peaches; for the frontiersman had long known 
that the peach was a versatile article. It was luscious 
fresh from the tree; dried, it was a delicacy throughout 
the long winter; and better still, or so it was thought, it 
could be made into potent peach brandy — a product 
which with whiskey was commonly used in that day both 
as a substitute for water and for cash in trading with the 
small boat stores which floated from isolated settlement 
to settlement down the river. 

Today the hill land of Hardin and other Ozark coun- 
ties is classed far below prairie land in fertility. But 
during this early period Hardin had advantages with 
which the prairies could not compete. Indians still held 
title to most of the flat upstate and few trails led through 
it; and too, most of it was so far from water highways 
that crops raised there cost more to get to market than 
they were worth. 

But farms in the Hardin County region had access lo 
the busiest and best river highway of them all : the Ohio- 
Mississippi route. There a number of backwoodsmen 
came to settle for a good purpose. They calculated to 
find the hill country on which they built their cabins free 
from the agues and fevers which were so common among 
folks living elsewhere in swampy flat lands. Besides, 
most of these settlers had come from hill country; they 
felt at home among the Illinois Ozarks. The hollows 
were filled with game; the buffalo, bear, and deer for 
food and skins; the beaver, mink, otter, and others still 
common today for pelts; the wild turkey, the migrating 
ducks and geese, and the small game for table delicacies. 

There is no doubt but what the backwoodsmen found 
a hunter's paradise in the forest with which the whole 
Hardin County region was then covered. The forest it- 
self was a source of income. The navigable Ohio was 
near by. The huge trees of oak, walnut, poplar and 


maple could be logged to the river, rafted downstream 
to Mississippi towns and sold. But most of this splendid 
timber never saw market. Its real use to the settler was 
for building the cabin — and of course for fuel. Other- 
wise trees were a nuisance— to be girded by the settler 
as soon as possible, and when dead the following year, 
felled and burned at a logrolling frolic. 

Thereafter corn and potato patches were planted in 
the shallow-plowed stump-field which circled the cabin, 
after which it was up to the ambitions of the individual as 
to how much extra land he would clear, how big a crop 
he could raise with his yoke of oxen, how many head of 
stock he could acquire and care for. 

Extent of Early Settlements 

Usually, up until 1814, there was little clearing of 
land by settlers; for not until 1812-14 could land be bought 
in Southern Illinois, the settlers being squatters allowed 
by the government to remain upon the land, but with no 
rights of possession. 

However, in 1814 a government land office was es- 
tablished in Shawneetown. There land was sold in 
quarter sections: first at public auction; or when no bid- 
ders were found, later on at a minimum price of $2.00 
per acre, payable in installments over a three-year period. 
An 1818 land-plat map shows almost all Hardin County 
land bordering the Ohio had been taken up. In addition 
there was a large block taken out along Big Creek and 
other blocks near the mouth of Saline Creek, in the Harris 
Creek bottoms, and at Karber's Ridge. 

In that year it is estimated that four hundred to five 
hundred people must have lived within the present boun- 
daries of Hardin County — a well settled region for that 
time. Yet even ten years earlier the county had been 
settled along the river banks. This is described in the 
journal of Fortesque Cuming, who made a flatboat trip 
down the Ohio in 1808. Here, several paragraphs arc de- 


voted to the region between Diamond Island, below 
Evansville, and Fort Massac, all of which is connected 
with Hardin County history: 

Shawneetown and Early Records 

No history of Hardin County would be complete 
without mention of Shawneetown. Up until 1816 all of 
Hardin was included in the county of Gallatin, of which 
Shawneetown was the county seat. After 1816 and until 
1839 southwestern Hardin was included in Pope County. 
But the northeastern part remained in Gallatin until 1847. 

Through all these years, particularly the early ones> 
Shawneetown was the metropolis of Southern Illinois. It 
was never a large place; floods and a malarial location 
kept its size down to less than one hundred buildings; 
but it was a thriving place with its brick bank, its news- 
paper, its brick hotel where Lafayette visited in 1825, its 
busy blacksmith shops, general stores, its taverns crowded 
with emigrants — and it would be hard to overestimate its 
importance. Chicago could be walled off and cause less 
inconvenience to the population of near-by states today 
than would have been caused in early times if there 
had been no Shawneetown. 

It was the port of entry to the Illinois country. From 
it ran the best and most traveled trail to Kaskaskia and 
the other Mississippi settlements. The salt works which 
supplied the Middle West with most of this article, pro- 
ducing over 300,000 bushels a year, were located on Saline 
Creek only ten miles away. This salt was routed through 
Shawneetown to ports up and down the rivers of Ohio 
and Mississippi. 

In other ways, too, the town was a part of first im- 
portance. It was near the junction of the Wabash, which 
was an important water highway in early pioneer days. 
Farm produce from the Wabash Valley settlements was 
brought to Shawneetown and sold to speculators who 
shipped it on to New Orleans. 


Manufactured goods, brought up the Mississippi and 
Ohio by keel boats or down the Ohio from Pittsburgh and 
Cincinnati were unloaded and sold here. It was here that 
the first postoffice was located; here the early settlers in 
Hardin County came to do their trading, exchanging pelts 
and pork, both on the hoof and as bacon, and their crops 
of potatoes and corn for iron tools and pans, ammunition 
and glassware, muslins from England, tea from India, 
and other items common today, but which to the early 
inhabitants were prized because they were touches of 

Here, in Shawneetown, on May 24th, 1813 two flat- 
boats were warped together and moored at the low, un- 
Jeveed landing; and with the long row of river-front 
cabins as a background, the first Court of Common Pleas 
of the new County of Gallatin was opened with L. White, 
J. C. Slocum, and Gabriel Greathouse, Gentlemen, pre- 

On that day this flatboat court heard the petition of 
one Lewis Barker for the inhabitants of Rock-and-Cave 
(later Cave-in-Rock) Township to establish a road from 
Barker's ferry to the U. S. Salines at Francis Jourdans. 
The petition was granted and viewers were appointed to 
survey the best route, these being: Lewis Barker, Phillip 
Coon, Issac Casey, Chisem Estes, Francis and Joseph Jour- 

Q 1 * ihe f<WlOA»6ng day, the 25th, the county was laid 
off in townships (i. e., precincts), with the bounds of the 
militia companies designated as boundaries of the town- 
ships. Thereafter the captains of the companies of mili- 
tia were appointed: Captain Steel of Grandpier; Captain 
McFarland of Big Creek; Captain Barker of Rock-and- 
Cave — the foregoing being officers for townships within 
1 he modern boundaries of Hardin County. Constables 
for these townships were: Leonard Harrison of Big Creek; 
John Jackson of Grandpier; and Asa Ledbetter of Rock- 


Daring this term, the court ordered a jail to be built 
in the public square, to consist of two stories, and of two 
thicknesses of white oak, hewed to 10 inches square. 
Among other items : a tax of $2 per year was levied on a 
ferry operating next above the mouth of Saline Greek. 
Jeptha Hardin was admitted to practice law. And the 
legal prices which taverns could charge were established; 
breakfast, dinner, supper, not over 25c; lodging 12^c; 
horse to hay or fodder, 25c; oats or corn per gallon, 25c, 
% pint whiskey 12V2C; peach brandy or cherry bounce 

In September court was held again. During this 
term James McFarland for the inhabitants of Big Creek 
prayed for the establishment of a road to U. S. Saline Salt 
Works; and Win. Frizzell, Elias Jourdan, Peter Etter and 
Lewis Watkins were appointed to view out the best 

A report was made on the Barker Ferry road : "Agree- 
able to an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Galla- 
tin County, May Term 1813, to have a road viewed from 
Barker Ferry to the U. S. Saline, we, the viewers . . . 
did begin at the said ferry and review thence to Nathaniel 
Armstrong's; thence across Harris Creek to a large spring; 
thence to cross Eagle Creek just above the forks; and 
the U. S. Saline." 

Upon the submission of this report, overseers were 
appointed with power to call out all the hands on each 
side of the route within six mlies of it, to cut it out and 
keep it in repair; Henry Ledbetter to oversee the stretch 
from the Ohio to Harris Creek and John Stovall from 
Harris Creek to the Saline. 

On September 29th, James McFarland was licensed 
to keep a ferry where he resided on land belonging to the 
U. S. government until the sale of these lands. 

In the January, 1814, term of court, a report on the 
McFarland road was made, the route decided upon being 


from JdcFarland's ferry to Absolom Estes; thence to 
Nathan Clamhits; thence to Betty Pankey's on Big Creek, 
thence to Elias Jourdaivs thence to Lewis Watkins, tak- 
ing the old road to Willis Hargrave's salt works. 

On the 2nd of May, 1815, the court found it necessary 
"to exercise its authority and fine Jeptha Hardin and 
Thos. G. Browne for contempt offered this court." 

In the April term, 1819, the Court had the county laid 
off in five township or election districts, with judges of 
election appointed: John Black, Asa Ledbetter and Alex- 
ander McElroy for Rock-and-Cave; John Groves, Joseph 
Riley and Mr. Stout for Cane Creek; Hankerson Rude, 
Hugh Robinson and Chishem Estes for Monroe. 

Later in 1819 a report was made by viewers for a road 
from Flynn's Ferry to Saline Tavern. These viewers 
were: Isaac Baldwin, John Black, Neil Thompson, and 
Alex McElroy. At this time ihe court ordered the road 
established as a public highway with Hugh McConnell 
appointed supervisor of stretch from the ferry to Powell's 
cabins, Isaac Potts supervisor from there to include the 
crossing of Beaver Creek, John Black thence to Eagle 
Creek, and Robert Watson on to the intersection with 
road from Shawneetown to Saline Tavern. 

interes ' court set an annual 

each on all billiard tables. 

iersmen and Boatmen 

From the foregoing, it can be seen that most of the 
official and commercial affairs of the Hardin County re- 
gion was transacted in Shawneetown. It was a center of 
population and visitors there judged the rest of back- 
woods Illinois by its actions. Sometimes unjustly, some- 
with amusing insight. Reading these old records 
today we get a picture of old "Shawanoe" as an uncurried, 
ripsnorting border town where river rowdies and cut- 
throats the length of the Ohio congregated and devoted 


their energies to raising the roofs of the six or niore vil- 
lage taverns. 

As one pioneer preacher related it was the most un- 
promising point for ministerial labors in the Union — 
which at that time took in a lot of pretty rough territory. 

Another visitor wrote: 

"Among two or three hundred inhabitants not a single 
soul made any pretentions to religion. Their shocking 
profaneness was enough to make one afraid to walk the 
street and those who on the Sabbath were not fighting and 
drinking at the taverns and grog shops, were either hunt- 
ing in the woods or trading behind their counters ... a 
laborer might almost as soon expect to hear the stones 
cry out as to expect a revolution in the morals of the 

Shawnee town, however, had no monopoly on such 
dubious activities. One traveler, an Englishman by the 
name of Flint, who found some American traits quite ad- 
mirable, appeared to find others just as lamentable. 

In Cincinnati,, New Year's day, 1819, his one journal 
entry was: "During the night I heard much noise of fight- 
ing and swearing amongst adult persons." Elsewhere he 
wrote: "... The river Ohio is considered the greatest 
thoroughfare of banditti in the Union. Horse stealing is 
notorious, as are escapes from prison — jails being con- 
structed of thin brick walls or of logs fit only to detain 
the prisoner while he is satisfied with the treatment he 
receives . . . Runaway apprentices, slaves, and wives are 
frequently advertised. I have heard several tavern keep- 
ers complain of young men going off without paying their 

And he really goes to town in writing of the river 
boatmen: "It gives me great pleasure to be relieved from 
the company of boatmen. I have seen nothing in human 
form so profligate as they are. Accomplished in deprav- 
ity, their habits and education seem to comprehend every 


vice. They make few pretentions to moral character; and 
their swearing is excessive and perfectly disgusting . . . 
The Scotsman recently referred to missed a knife. On 
his accusing them, one degraded wretch offered to buy 
his fork. I have seen several whose trousers formed the 
whole of their wardrobe. They are extremely addicted to 
drinking. Indeed I have frequntly seen them borrowing 
of one another a few cents to quench their insatiable 

However, Flint makes a more sober commentary in the 
following: "Most of them (i. e., backwoodsmen) are well 
acquainted with the law, and fond of it on the most trif- 
ling occasions. I have known a lawsuit brought for a 
pail of the value of 25c. . . . Many of them are sometimes 
truly industrious, and at other times excessively idle. 
Numbers of them can turn their hands to many things, 
having been accustomed to do for themselves in small 
societies. They are a most determined set of republi- 
cans, well versed in politics, and thoroughly independent. 
A man who has only half a shirt and without shoes or 
stockings, is as independent as the first man in the states; 
and interests himself in the choice of men to serve his 
country as much as the highest man in it, and often from 
as pure motives — the general good without any private 
views of his own .... 1 was struck to find with what har- 
mony people of different religions lived together, and 
have since had no reason to alter my opinion. I have had 
much conversation with Baptists, Methodists, and 
Quakers. They all expressed much charity for those oth- 
er sects, although most of them seemed to have a high 
opinion of their own. 
Record of a Circuit Minister 

Such were the observations of one traveler on that 
early American Frontier. The following picture of fron- 
tier life comes from a more understanding writer, John 
Scripps, a Methodist circuit rider of pioneer times. It 
would be difficult to equal the vividness which he relates 


the hardships he and his fellow ministers encountered 
during those early days; nor could we learn better than 
through his words the hospitality which was to be found in 
even the rudest of cabins. 

". . . Our roads were narrow, winding horse-paths, 
sometimes scarcely perceptible, and frequently for miles, 
no path at all, amid tangled brushwood, over fallen tim- 
ber, rocky glens, mountainous precipices; through swamps 
and low grounds, overflowed or saturated by water for 
miles together, and consequently muddy, which the break- 
ing up of the winter and the continued rains gave a con- 
tinued supply of; the streams some of them large and 
rapid, swollen to overflowing, we had to swim on our 
horses, carrying our saddle-bags on our shoulders. It 
was a common occurrence, in our journeying, to close our 
day's ride drenched to the skin by continually descending 
rains, for which that spring was remarkable. Our nights 
were spent, not in two but in one room log cabins, each 
generally constituting our evening meetinghouse, kitchen, 
nursery, parlor, dining and bedroom — all within the di- 
mensions of sixteen square feet, and not unfrequently a 
loom occupying one-fourth of it, together with spinning 
wheels and other apparatus for manufacturing their ap- 
parel — our congregations requiring our services till ten or 
twelve o'clock; our supper after dismission, not of select, 
but of just such aliment as our hospitable entertainers 
could provide (for hospitable, in the highest sense of the 
word, they were) ; corn-cakes, fried bacon, sometimes 
butter, with milk or herb tea, or some substitute for coffee. 

"At the Rock-and-Cavc camp meeting, the measles 
being very prevalent in the congregation, I took them. 
Very high fevers were th first symptom; but unconscious 
of the cause and nature of my affliction, I continued trav- 
eling through all weathers for upwards of two weeks, be- 
fore the complaint developed its character. My stomach 
became very delicate, and through a populous part of our 


journey I inquired for coffee at every house we passed, 
and was invariably directed to Mr. L.'s several miles 
ahead, as the only probable place for the procurement of 
the grateful beverage. On making known my wants to 
Mrs. L., she searched and found a few scattered grains 
at the bottom of a chest, of which she made me two cup- 

"We have sometimes sat in the large fireplace, oc- 
cupying the entire end of a log cabin, and plucked from 
out the smoke of the chimney above us pieces of dried and 
smoked venison, or jerk, the only provision the place 
could afford us, and the only food the inmates had to sus- 
tain themselves, till they could obtain it by the cultivation 
of the soil. Our horses fared worse, in muddy pens, or 
tied up to saplings or corners of the cabin, regaled with 
the refuse of winter's fodder, sometimes (when we could 
not restrain over-liberality) with seed-corn, purchased in 
Kentucky at a dollar per bushel, and brought in small 
quantities, according to the circumstances of the purch- 
aser, one hundred miles or more at some expense and 
trouble. This, when they had it, our remonstrances to 
the contrary could not prevent being pounded on mortars 
to make us bread. Our lodgings were on beds of various 
qualities, generally feather-beds, but not infrequently fod- 
der, chaff, shucks, straw, and sometimes only deerskins, 
but always the best the house afforded, either spread on 
the rough puncheon floor before the fire (from which we 
must rise early to make room for breakfast operations or 
on a patched-up platform attached to the wall, which not 
unfrequently would fall down, sometimes in the night, 
with its triplicate burden of three in a bed. Such inci- 
dents would occasion a little mirth among us, but we 
would soon fix up and be asleep again. Now, I would 
here remark, that many of these privations could have 
been avoided by keeping a more direct course from one 
quarterly-meeting to another, and selecting, with a view 
to comfort, our lodging-places. But Brother Walker 
river, which afforded the only means of transportation 


sought not personal comfort so much as the food of soul*, 
and he sought the most destitute, in their most retired 
recesses, and in their earliest settlements." 

By Judge Arthur A. Miles 

This beautiful and picturesque territory, with its rug- 
ged surface broken by many beautiful hills and valleys, 
now known as Hardin County, originally belonged to the 
Illini Indians, so far as we know, for an indefinite period. 
They were displaced by the Tamaroa Indians (Note No. 1) 
who by occupancy and use owned all southeastern Illinois 
when first visited by white man. Evidences of Indian 
occupation over a long period of time are numerous as 
several of their cemeteries have been located and many 
of their arrow heads, axes, tools, and vessels have been 
found. As the site of Hardin County is located so far in- 
land from the Atlantic coast, where the first settlements 
were made by white people, and as so little was known 
about the topography and extent of the country, the title 
of this particular territory was in dispute for about three 
hundred years. 

Conflicting Claims 

Spain claimed all this country by Columbus' discov- 
ery of the new world in 1492. Spain also claimed this 
country by discoveries and explorations by De Leon in 
1503 and De Soto in 1541 although it is not known that 
either cf these great explorers ever reached Hardin 

England claimed all this country by Cabot's discov- 
ery of the North American Continent in 1498. 

France claimed this territory by explorations by Mar- 
quet in 1671 and by La Salle in 1680, though there is no 
evidence that either of these good men ever touched the 
soil of Hardin County. There is, however, some history 


of travels published by Frenchmen which mention the 
great river, probably the Ohio, and the great cave of Cave- 
in-Rock. This would give them some cause to claim the 

The charters and grants given by the English gov- 
ernment to the Connecticut colony, the Massachusetts col- 
ony, the Plymouth colony, and the Virginia colony and 
probably those given to Lord Delaware and William Penn, 
could, by some stretch of the facts and imagination, have 
covered the site of this county. 

The leaders of these colonies knew nothing of the 
extent of the country and as their grants covered points 
along the Atlantic seaboard, they claimed all the land 
to the west and some seemed to think that their grants 
spread fanwise from the coast. For no doubt ihey were 
familiar with the actions and words of the great ex- 
plorer, Balboa, when he waded into the waters of the 
Pacific ocean and claimed it and all its shores for the 
crown of Spain. 

George Rogers Clark 

The colony of Virginia, however, had the right of 
possession on account of the conquest of all this terri- 
tory by one of her sons, General George Rogers Clark, 
who recruited an army near Louisville, Kentucky, came 
down the Ohio to Fort Massac then across the state to cap- 
ture Kaskaskia and Cahokia. Later he returned across 
the state and caplured Fort Sacketville, now known as 
Vincennes, Indiana, from the British and Indians and held 
this section of the country for Virginia and the American 

All these colonies ceded their rights to this territory 
prior to the forming of the Northwest Territory in 1787 
by an act of Congress consisting of the states of Ohio, 
Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and parts of Min- 
nesota. Hardin County is wtihin that portion known a» 
the Northwest Territory. 


Counties Organized 

After Illinois was admitted as a state in 1818, counties 
were laid out with more or less indefinite boundaries as 
this country had not as yet been surveyed. Pope and 
Gallatin counties had been organized but no definite 
boundary lines between the two had been fixed when the 
state legislature passed a bill on March 2, 1839, cutting 
off a portion of the eastern part of Pope County and call- 
ed it Hardin County. This new county was in a form of 
a triangle — the Ohio river forming one side, Grand Pierre 
Creek one side, and a line, running in a northwesterly 
direction from a point on the Ohio river near Cave-in- 
Rock to the southwest corner of township 10, south range 
8 east touching the southern boundary of the then Galla- 
tin County near the head of Grand Pierre Creek, formed 
the other side. 

By an act of legislature approved January 8, 1840, 
the western boundary was changed eastward to its present 
location and on February 20, 1847, territory was taken 
from Gallatin County, added to that already taken from 
Pope— giving Hardin County its present boundaries. Har- 
din County is in the southeast portion of the state of Illi- 
nois, is the second smallest county of the state and lies 
wholly within the Ozark territory— its northern boundary 
separating it from Gallatin and Saline runs almost ex- 
actly along the crest of the mountain range. 

Note : The Shawnee Indians, a kindred tribe of the 
Tamaroas, actually lived in this county at the arrival of 
the white settlers. 


By Sidney Snook Hainan 

The great tide of American civilization rolling west- 
ward across the Appalachian mountains in the closing 


years of the Eighteenth century brought in its wake the 
pioneer farmer. In the front rank of this mighty pro- 
cession, which marked the moulding of a nation, came 
the hunter, who trekked through the forests in pursuit of 
game; and, following him closely, the frontier farmer, who 
was attracted by the virgin soil of the broad river valleys. 

This pioneer farmer usually brought his wife and 
children along with him and planned a more or less per- 
manent abode. Scores of them came down the Ohio 
river by flatboat or barge. During the latter part of the 
century the river was the principal route of entry into the 
new country. Thousands of crafts of every size and de- 
scription moved downstream with their human cargo of 
valiant settlers who sought to «arve new homes in the 
western wilderness, traders taking their goods to market 
at New Orleans, and free souls lured by a spirit of ad- 
venture. Aboard the family boats, bearing old and 
young with their eyes turned hopefully to the future, the 
routine of daily living was carried on. The family cow 
and the chickens were part of the living cargo. These 
journeys down the river were slow and uncertain and full 
of peril from snag and shoal and the buffeting of wind 
and current, but for years the human drift continued. 

Landed in a strange new country with all that was 
safe and familiar behind him, this frontier farmer set 
staunchly about the task of wresting a home and a live- 
lihood from the wilderness. He girdled a few trees, cut 
a clearing in the forest, built a log cabin, put a rail fence 
around his ground, and planted a garden patch with 
beans and corn, potatoes and cabbage and turnips. In 
the autumn he laid-by his crops, the corn in a crib, the 
turnips and cabbage and potatoes buried in mounds. 
There was. his winter's food supply. 

Such is a picture of the pioneer farmer. The ad- 
vancing frontier had gained a foothold in the new land 
of the West. 


That might well be a picture of the first farmer in 
Hardin County, whoever he may have been. He came 
in to this territory on that sweeping tide of emigration that 
pushed over the mountains and down the valleys. 

Historians record that as early as 1808 Samuel O'Mel- 
vanv, an Irishman, led a group of Irish families down the 
broad waters of the Ohio into this section and made a 
permanent settlement near the present site of Elizabeth- 
town. They tilled the soil and raised their food and 

As the pioneer surge continued, the settlements grew. 
By 1830 the banks of the river were lined with bustling 
villages. In this immediate section, which became Har- 
din County on March 2, 1839, more land was cleared, 
more settlers tilled the oil, more crops were harvested. 
New trails had been blazed, and hardy pioneer farmers 
and their families had conquered the wilderness. 

The Tuber Staple 

In the very early years of Hardin County's farming 
the growers discovered what crop was best suited to the 
soil and meant the biggest yield. Maybe it was that 
pioneer Irishman who found it out. The crop was Irish 
pointers. The potaio forged to the front as the principal 
crop and held that distinctive place until the early Eight- 
ies of the last century. Since that time, however, it has 
declined until today the appellation of "potato country" 
would no longer be fitting. 

But it was then. Thousands of bushels of high grade 
potatoes wtre shipped out of the county aboard flatboats 
down tin river to New Orleans. The potatoes were 
either piled in bulk aboard the flatboat or loaded in bar- 
rels for shipment. Sacking potatoes was rare. When 
the flatboat captain and his crew reached their desti- 
nation down river, the cargo would be marketed, the boat 
sold, and be and his men would return overland. Com- 


paratively few potato crops ever were shipped by steam- 
boat because of the higher transportation costs. 

Cave-in-Rock, Elizabethtown, and Shetlerville were 
potato shipping points. Stories are told of that early day 
when Cave-in-Rock, the cave in the rock itself, one-time 
rendezvous of Ohio river pirates who preyed on boatmen 
plying the river, was known as "potato cave" because 
quantities of potatoes would be stored there until the ar- 
rival of flatboats to transport the cargo downstream. 
Protecting campfires, lighted by the growers to ward off 
freezing of the potatoes, flickered on the gray walls of the 
dusky old cavern, which had once patterned the firelight 
of the pirates' campfire as they gathered about it to di- 
vide their ill-gotten gains, to join in revelry, or to plot 
bloodshed. Those wicked old boys would have grinned a 
wicked grin at such a prosaic sight as a pile of potatoes. 

With the flatboats tied up at the shore, the loading of 
the potatoes, bushel upon bushel, would begin. Some- 
times hours would be required to complete the task. Har- 
din County's reputation grew as a land of fine potatoes, 
and numerous potato growers found the venture a highly 
profitable one. 

Farmers planted their potatoes about the Fourth of 
July and dug them after the first "killing frost." They 
were wont to talk proudly of the "Pcachblow", which was 
the most prolific late potato grown in the county. 

Staple Crops Change 

About 1880 the potato crops began to fail. And what, 
one might ask, happened to the potatoes? Once a potato 
county why not yet a potato county? Wearing out of the 
soil by raising one crop right after another and a change 
in the climate are held responsible. Old-timers insist 
that the fall and winter are not what they used to be. 
Those early potato growers well knew that the crop re- 
quires a damp climate. Along in the late seventies, ac- 


cording lo those who watched the potatoes and the weath- 
er, the autumn rains began to lessen. Dry falls became 
the rule instead of the exception. The potato yield de- 
creased steadily. Furthermore, much of the land had 
been overworked and robbed of what might be called its 
"potato elements." Hence, the potato as a distinctive, 
Hardin County crop passed away. 

Early Hardin County farmers also raised wheat, very 
fine wheat; but more or less the same story might be told 
of that commodity. Wheat production began to decline 
about the turn of the present century. Again a change in 
climatic conditions might be held responsible in some 
quarters. "We don't have the old-time winters," some 
farmers say. In the old days there was excellent pro- 
duction of winter wheat, but with gradual clearing of the 
forests, which sheltered snow blankets on the wheatland:, 
the wheat crop too began to fail. Winters, which once, 
the early settlers sa}% were long and hard and coki, be- 
came a series of thaws and freezes with the devastating 
result that erosion lias swept away much of the fine wheat 
soil from the hills and plateaus of the county. Many a 
prosperous wheat grower was ruined by the changes 
which brought about depletion of the wheat-producing 

Ledbetter Milling Company 

During the heyday of the wheat industry in Hardin 
County, milling was one of the most successful business 

Milling operations begun by James A. Ledbetter, a 
native of Christian County, Kentucky, who came into 
Hardin County in the early Fifties, continued successfully 
over a period of nearly sixty years. He established a 
chain of mills at Elizabethtown, Cave-in-Rock, and Tolu, 
Kentucky, and handled approximately 100,000 bushels of 
wheat a year, all of it produced in Hardin County. In 


1879 Mr. Ledbetter placed operation of the three mills in 
the hands of his three sons, respectively, with George W. 
Ledbetter assuming management of the Elizabethtown 
mill; Henry Ledbetter, the Tolu plant; and James A. Led- 
better, Jr., the mill at Cave-in-Rock. The business op- 
erated under the firm name of The Ledbetter Mills and 
represented the largest business organization of its kind 
in the southern Illinois and western Kentucky region 

The Hardin County wheat yield at that time was ex- 
cellent and resulted in a particularly high grade flour. 
For many years the mills ground only Hardin County 
wheat, but, in its latter existence, acquired some of its 
grain from Posey County, Indiana, and Bayou, Kentucky. 
When home-grown wheat no longer was available in 
sufficient quantity for the mill demands, the business be- 
gan to decline because of increased transportation costs. 

In 1890 the company disposed of the Tolu mill, and 
Henry Ledbetter joined his brother, George, in operation 
of the Elizabethtown and Cave-in-Rock mills under the 
firm name of Ledbetter Brothers, which was subsequently 
changed, in 1907, to the Ledbetter Milling Company. Dur- 
ing its years of operation the company marketed flour 
under the trade names of "Silver Floss", "Georgia", 
"Mora", and "Heiora", the last three brands taking their 
names from the sons and daughters of the Ledbetter 

Cave-in-Rock property was sold about 1920 to 
the Benzon Mining Company, and in 1922 George W. Led- 
better, retiring from business, turned over operation of 
the Elizabethtown mill to his son, M. D. Ledbetter, who 
continued the business for six years. The property was 
finally disposed of in 1930. 

Another flour mill operating in Hardin County over 
a period of a few years was that of Ferrell and Clark, 
whose plant was situated on (he Elizabethtown rivcrbank. 
The Ledbetter interests took it over in 1905. 


The Walrab Water Mill 

Growing of corn dates back to the very beginning 
of agriculture in Hardin County, back to a day before it 
was Hardin County at all, for the Indians of the territory 
were raising corn when the white settlers came along. 
The pioneer farmers took it up and added acreage and 
improved the means of cultivation. The Indians used 
soft corn for roasting-ears, but after it had matured and 
hardened, they ground or powdered it into grist on the 
tops of tree stumps. The early farmers continued the 
same practice for a time, but afterward fashioned "grit- 
ties", made by tacking small sheets of zinc or iron, per- 
forated with nail holes, to boards. 

Then they built water-mills. One of the best known 
bf these old mills was Browns Mill, which stood for 
years near Mount Zion church on the Old Ford's Ferry 
Road, where many a hapless traveler, crossing from Ken- 
tucky into the Illinois country, met his fate at the hands 
of the notorious Ford's Ferry band of robbers. Another 
of these early county water-mills, and one which gained i 
wide and favorable reputation throughout southern Illi- 
nois, was Walrab's Mill, situated a mile northeast of the 
Illinois Iron Furnace. John C. Walrab, a young German 
settler, purchased the site from a man named Casad. He 
dug a mill-race half a mile in length in order to gain 
power for operation of an overshot wheel. The other 
mills of the region were pulled by undershot wheels. 
During the iron-mining period in this county the Walrab 
mill supplied grist for a large portion of the county's pop- 

It was the first mill in the county to engage in day 
and night operation that it might meet the demands of 
customers. A familiar sight around the mill was the load 
upon load of corn in carts drawn by double yokes of oxen. 

At a later date Brown and Walrab installed steam- 
boilers for their grist mills. Today the boiler from the 


old Brown mill is a roadside derelict near Mount Ziou 

After a few years corn became a money crop in the 
county as well as a stock and a food crop, and large 
quantities of the grain were shipped by flatboat down the 
river to Memphis and New Orleans markets along with 
potatoes and salt pork. Unlike the crops of potatoes and 
wheat, which have waned with the years, corn is still 
produced in the county and holds its place as the major 
farm yield. The creek bottom lands, fed from the rugged 
Ozark foothills, are particularly well adapted to produc- 
tion of this golden grain. 

Cattle on the Ranges 

In an earlier day cattle raising was an extensive: 
industry in Hardin County. Most of the pioneer settlers 
moving into the region brought with them a few head of 
stock which were corralled near the cabins as a precau- 
tionary move against roving wolves and cattle thieves. 
Soon it was discovered that abundant herbs and grasses, 
as well as an adequate water supply, provided excellent 
cattle ranges; and the livestock industry grew apace. 
Many an early cattle man realized a neat fortune from the 
ranges of Hardin County hillsides. 

But an ill wind blew the way of that pioneer industry 
in the form of a plague, described in old records as the 
"milk sick plague." Great herds of young stock died in 
Illinois and Kentucky and as far south as Tennessee. The 
loss was tremendous. It also took a heavy toll in human 
life in the community. Probably the most complete ac- 
count of the disaster is found in a diary left by Dr. Anna 
Hobbs Bigsby, a pioneer woman doctor. She came into 
Hardin County with her parents in a covered wagon from 
Philadelphia. Later, her family sent her back to Phila- 
delphia for medical and muse's training. Completing 
her course of study, she returnee! to the frontier settle- 


men! and practiced her profession. Her's was an active 
part in the life of the community as she visited the sick, 
taught, and participated in church work. Her maiden 
name was Anna Pierce. She was married twice; first to 
Isaac Hobbs and later to Eson Bigsby. 

The Milk Sick Plague 

At the time the "milk sick plague" struck the com- 
munity she plunged immediately into the fight against 
the malady. Because of her training, she felt the respon- 
sibility of doing all she could. Days and nights she spent 
with the sick. She read medical books, and she commu- 
nicated with eminent doctors back East in an effort to 
find a clue to the devastating disease. It seemed as 
though her efforts were futile. Many deaths occurred, 
even among members of her own family, and the tragedy 
rested crushingly upon her. 

With tears in her eyes this young woman cried, 
"There is no one to be blamed for this awful scourge un- 
less it is Anna Hobbs. The people have looked to me to 
meet and treat such epidemics, but in this I have failed, 
helplessly failed." 

As the number of deaths increased alarmingly and as 
whole herds of young cattle were destroyed, many people, 
losing their normal sense of balance, came to believe that 
it w.;s a deliberate plot on the part of some lawless ele- 
ment in the community to poison the cattle, and indirect- 
ly the people. An uprising was threatened with murmurs 
of taking the law into their own hands and dealing with 
the suspected persons in the summary manner of frontier 

But this thirty-year-old woman intervened success- 
fully. She continued her investigation and finally reach- 
ed the conclusion that the poisoning was through the mill: 
supply, reasoning that the milk cows gave off enough 
through the mammary glands to escape death 


themselves in most instances, but that those who <lrank 
the milk fell victim of the malady. She spread word of 
warning far and near to refrain from use of milk until 
after frost in the autumn. This measure saved many 
human lives, but did not save the young cattle upon which 
many settlers were dependent for their livelihood. 

According to her carefully kept diary, the source of 
the milk's poisoning was finally discovered after a strange 
fashion. She chanced to meet in the woods an old Indian 
squaw, once a herb doctor or "medicine squaw" of the 
Shawnees. Dr. Hobbs took the woman into her home and 
learned from her the cause of the deadly "milk sick 
plague." "Aunt Shawnee", as the Indian woman became 
known in the community, went with Dr. Hobbs into the 
woods and showed her the herb, the poisonous snakerool, 
which they believed caused the cattle disease. 

For many years after that, according to tradition, 
every fall the boys and men of the community, armed 
with hoes and knives, trooped through the forests to de- 
stroy the root. Its eradication stopped the plague, but not 
before it had ruined in large measure one of the most 
promising of the county's pioneer industries. 

Since that time the livestock industry has not attained 
premier rank in the county's agricultural life although, 
farm leaders say, the section is potentially excellent for 
cattle raising. 

The Old Man River 

For a period of roughly thirty years, shipment of pi^ 
iron was among Hardin County's early industries. The 
Illinois Furnace, established in 1837 ami continuing in 
operation until 1874, and the Martha Furnace, operating 
from 1848 to 1857, shipped their products from the county. 
Several hundred tons of pig iron were shipped out an- 
nually. The abandoned remains of the old Illinois fur- 
nace may be seen today. 

Shipment of all products from the county was by 


for many years. It was only in 1919 that a railroad came 
into the county. The Illinois Central System extended 
Its line into Rosiclare at that time. Those very early 
settlers watched transportation grow on the river. They 
watched the procession of barges and flatboats, keel boats, 
and Kentucky boats moving down river to New Orleans; 
and they beheld in 1811 the passage of the "New Orleans", 
the first steamboat ever to navigate the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi rivers. They watched the growth of that majestic 
pageant which was to attain its full glory in the "golden 
age of steamboatin'." 

Old Man River served the community well in that 
long ago day. Potatoes and wheat, corn and hay, salt 
pork and pig iron, all of them were moved out on flat- 
boats and aboard the proud packets that pulled into the 
Elizabethtown levee during those years that rivermen now 
refer to wistfully as "the good old river days." 

There have been changes in the agricultural and in- 
dustrial picture of Hardin County in the years. No longer 
are potato barrels rolled on to flatboats, no longer do ox 
carls pull up to the grist mills; no longer do herds of 
cattle roam the ranges; no longer do the iron furnaces 
send forth a glow against the night sky. Neither do Har- 
din County travelers, gentlemen in frock coats and ladies 
in crinoline with tiny parasols, trip down the levee to 
board a gleaming white packet boat that pulled out from 
the shore with a clang of bells; those travelers now step in- 
to shiny automobiles and flash along paved highways. 
The years have wrought the change. 

Hardin County Acreage 

There is an up-to-date agricultural picture in Har- 
din County. Despite much land that is rugged and un- 
tillable, there are well-cultivated farms dotting the coun- 
tryside. Of the total Hardin County acreage of 110,257 
acres there arc 27,447 acres in cultivation. Timbered 


lands embrace 30,878 acres and brushlands, 9,792 acres. 
There are 42,140 acres in open fields. 

In Hardin County today there are 950 farms with corn 
and hay as the principal crops. Corn production is 
245,000 bushels annually. The yield of hay is from ap- 
proximately 22,000 acres. The river bottom areas are 
well suited to corn production. 

While the soil of Hardin County could not be de- 
scribed as the best in Illinois, it responds to treatment 
better than most areas in the state, farm leaders say. The 
county is potentially an ideal livestock area since the hill 
lands produce almost year-around pasture and the river 
lands yield sufficient corn to supply thousands of head 
of cattle. Poultry and dairying occupy only a minor 
place in Hardin County agriculture because of unfavor- 
able marketing facilities. There arc no commercial or- 

From that long-ago day when a pioneer farmer plant- 
ed his "truck patch" and began his new home in the wil- 
derness of the west, Hardin CounUy has been an agricul- 
tural community. 

By Judge A. A. Mil< i 

In order to write intelligently upon this subject, it is 
necessary that we say something of the geology oi 
territory, that the reader may understand the formations 
and how the faults and veins occurred and how ore was 
deposited in them. Geologists tell us that in the I 
long ago— possibly as much as 100,000,000 years or more 
ago— there was a disturbance, probably caused by p] 
sure of gases from beneath which broke the crust of the 
earth in the section of country now known as Hardin 
^S=tmmty. These breaks in which the crust of the ear 
ted and some parts of the crust moved u — 
vnward, left many cracks, and the gast s while ■ sc iping, 


solidified, filling these breaks with a non-metallic miner- 
al called calcite, which is calcium carbonate and almost 
pure lime. 

Some claim the calcite was deposited in the breaks of 
the earth's crust by water percolating through them. At 
a later time, another disturbance occurred in which fluor- 
ine gases from below, escaping through the former breaks, 
united with the calcite and limestone and formed what is 
known as fluorspar. The cracks in the earth's crust then 
formed are what we now call veins, and the moving of the 
parts of the earth's crust upward or downward is known 
as faulting. 

These faults vary from a few feet to more than 1,000 
feet and run in a general north-easternly, south-westernly 
direction across Hardin County. The proof of this is 
plainly seen in several places where great cliffs of lime- 
stone and sandstone stand side by side. This condition 
is also found in the mines. 


The country rock is of two kinds — sedimentary and 
igneous. The sedementary rocks are those that were 
formed by sediment from erosion of the mountains which 
settled in the low places and was formed into rock under 
pressure of large bodies of water, for at one time all this 
territory was, no doubt, the bottom of a vast ocean. The 
igneous rocks are those which were intruded while in a 
molten mass through the cracks of the sedimentary rock 
and there is in the northern part of this county a plainly 
visible crater of an extinct volcano. 


There are several minerals found in Hardin County, 
the most important of which are fluorspar, iron, lead, 
silver, zinc, and limestone. These are, or have been, 
mined and shipped commercially. Other minerals found 
in this county are barite, calcite, calcium, coal, malachite 


and stibnite. This county is more particularly noted for 
the large deposits of fluorspar which is a non-metallic 
mineral composed of about fifty-one per cent calcium and 
forty-nine per cent fluorine. In color it ranges through 
all the shades of amber, blue, green, violet, and yellow to 
transparent. The iron is of high quality and many beau- 
tiful specimens of limite ore have been found. The lead 
and zinc is to a large extent sulphide although some car- 
bonate is found. The limestone is high in carbonate con- 

The great limestone cliffs both along the river and in 
the interior have furnished tens of thousands of yards for 
commercial purposes. The quarries along the river (idle 
now) have been operated for many years and the stone 
used to pave the river banks at most of the cities along 
the lower Mississippi, to riprap the caving, crumbling 
banks, to make the dikes, and to build the jetties at the 
mouth of that river. In the last few years much limestone 
has been crushed for soil sweetening. 

Fluorspar was discovered in this territory in 1839 by 
a farmer while digging a well on what is now the Prop- 
erty of the Franklin Fluorspar Company within the pres- 
ent corporate limits of the city of Rosiclare, near what is 
known as Fairview Landing. 


At that time another mineral was discovered, which 
the farmer thought to be silver. A quantity of this min- 
eral was transported by flat boat down the Ohio and 
Mississippi rivers to the government mint at New Orleans. 
Analysis proved that while there was some silver in the 
material, the greater part of it was lead sulphide. Min- 
ing operations were started at the site of the well and 
carried on for lead alone, there being no market for fluor- 
spar. A small smelter was erected, the lead smelted, but 
the fluorspar was thrown into the waste dump. A cast 


iron part of a small lead smelter, used in early times, is 
still to be seen at the Fairview Mines. 

In 1842 lead and fluorspar were found on the prop- 
of the Rosielarre Lead and Fluorspar Mining Com- 
pany, near the present site of their mill which also lies 
within the corporate limits of the City of Rosiclare. Min- 
ing operations were carried on here for lead. A large 
smelter was built and the lead was molded into pigs for 
shipment. It is said by some of our older citizens that 
lead from these mines was used by the United States 
Army in the war with Mexico, 1847. The activities in the 
load smelting were suspended probably prior to the sus- 
pension of iron smelting. But mining has been carried 
on in conjunction with the mining of fluorspar until this 


We do not know a great deal regarding the mining 
and smelting of the iron ore as our early settlers left us 
few records. We know, however, that iron ore was dis- 
coveri d about the same year, 1839, in which fluorspar 
was red, and two furnaces were built and smelt- 

ing operations w r ere carried on foi nui of years. 

Tins:' furnaces were located five miles north of 

Elizabethtown, one being known as the Illinois Furnace 
and the other as the Martha Furnace. The ore was cast into 

and hauled by I and wagon to Elizabethtown for 
shipment by boat. harcoal for the smelting was ob- 

tained from timber cut from the surrounding forest. 
These furnaces were operated intermittently over a period 
of years and were finally closed about 1875 and 1882. 
Part of the old stone masonry stack and furnace is still 
standing at the site of the Illinois Furnace. Recent ef- 
forts to restore it to the original form have failed owing 
to the fact that the property is owned by private parties 
who will not or cannot give authority. 

Many years ag.o the machinery was moved from the 


site of the Martha Furnace and nothing is left to mark the 
spot but a recently constructed concrete slab. Since clos- 
ing the furnaces for smelting no further mining of iron 
has been done although there are indications that large 
bodies of ore lie hidden in several of the little hills. 


Although small quantities of zinc have been mined 
from several localities in conjunction with mining for 
fluorspar and lead, no large bodies of rich zinc ore had 
been located in this county until recently when the Ma- 
honing Mining Company opened up a large deposit five 
miles north of Gave-in-Rock. Zinc ore is not found in 
all the mines that produce fluorspar and lead yet in some 
mines there are places where zinc is found interspersed 
with the fluorspar and lead to such an extent as to make 
milling very difficult. 

This condition of mixed ores was found at the Fair- 
view Mines twenty years ago when several thousands of 
tons of high zinc — highlead — low fluorspare ore were 
mined. In order to separate these ores a new mill was 
built and a ''flotation" system was installed, and was the 
first flotation used in Hardin County. The floated ores, 
called concentrates of lead and zinc sulphide, were ship- 
ped to smelters located outside this county. The exper- 
iment proved successful and now all the larger mills are 
using the flotation system along with the water and grav- 
ity system for fluorspar as well as lead and zinc. 


Calcilc is the purest form of calcium carbonate and is 
white in color. As it was thought to be valueless, being 
used only for dressing walkways and driveways or to 
make ornamental flower beds, however, about twenty 
years ago it was sold as a soil sweetener, since that time 
considerable tonnage has been shipped for that and other 



The .silver found in Hardin County has been so inter- 
spersed with lead that no attempt has been made to separ- 
ate them, hence the two minerals are shipped together and 
the smelters pay for the silver they recover. 


There are several coal measures in the county and 
some of them have been worked but the veins are too 
narrow for profitable mining. 


Experiments with fluorspar proved it to be useful as 
a flux in making steel, but small quantities were used 
until the development of the open-hearth furnace. Fur- 
ther experiments proved fluorspar to be useful in making 
acids, opalescent glass, and in enameling. 

The crude ore as it comes from the mines is not of 
uniform grade but frequently mixed with other minerals, 
and to prepare it for the market it must undergo thorough 

The mining of fruorspar together w r ith the by products 
of lead and zinc has been carried on in all the various 
forms from open cuts or shallow pits to deep shaft work. 
But the best mining today is done by sinking a three or 
four compartment shaft in the foot wall near the vein to 
■i depth of five hundred feet or more then crosscut to the 
vein. Drifts then are driven along the vein at intervals of 
about one hundred feet in depth of the shaft. 

These drifts, usually about eight feet wide and ten 
feet high or sometimes the width of the vein, are timber- 
id overhead and bins built to receive the ore from above 
which is drilled by air-operated machines and blasted 
with dynamite to break it loose from its solid formation. 
This is called overhead stoping and is continued upward 
from one hundred foot level to another until all the ore 
except what is left for pillars is taken out. 


The ore is then loaded into cars and hoisted to the 
surface by electricity or steam. Two hundred tons is a 
fairly good day's hoisting. 

In order to keep mines safe for workmen, timber 
must be used where the ore has been extracted. This 
timber is secured from the forests of the county. 

From the beginning of mining operations until about 
thirty-five years ago, drilling was done with hand steel 
drills and hammers and black powder was used in blast- 
ing. Two men working together worked the drill — one 
holding the drill — the other striking. While this seems 
very crude today, yet, our early miners could break all the 
spar the trade demanded. 

In prospecting and in some small operations hoisting 
is done by manpower using a windless but in earlier days 
when machinery was scarce horsepower was also used. 

Milling of Fluorspar 

The milling of fluorspar is a business within itself. 
In order to produce the various grades large mills and ex- 
pensive machinery are required. 

When the ore reaches the surface it is placed in bins 
at the top of the mill from where it moves by gravity and 
elevators through crushers and washers to a horizontal 
conveyer belt where it is hand picked. The pure lumps, 
called high grade or acid spar, are separated and placed 
in bins while the larger pieces of waste material such as 
limestone, calcite and all other waste is also picked by 
hand to take it out of the circuit. The mixed ores are 
then recrushed, screened to various sizes, and passed over 
jigs which use a gravity water system where much of the 
waste and foreign materials are separated and thrown out. 
Some of the ore coming from these jigs is of high fluoride 
content and is acid spar, but the greater part will run 
about eighty-five per cent and this is known as the metal- 
lurgical or fluxing grade. 


Some of the acid spar is shipped in lump form and 
some is pulverized to the fineness of wheat flour which 
it then resembles and is placed in bags for shipmnt to 
consumers. The fluxing grades are shipped in the gravel 
form. There is also some shipments of the lump form of a 
lower grade. 

In this connection, we might add that in the smaller 
mining operations where the ore is not so badly mixed 
with other materials but containing clay or free rock, a 
system of log washing is used to prepare this ore for 
market. A log washer is a timber approximately twelve 
to sixteen feet in length with iron lugs fastened along 
the oetagal sides, (making a sort of screw conveyer), and 
geared so that in turning the ore is stirred and washed 
while moving along the length of the log. In some in- 

ccs hand picking is also necessary to take out the 
larger pieces of foreign matter. 

Owing to the fact that some ores are so interspersed 
with fluorspar, lead, zinc, silica (sand) and other sub- 
stances, it is necessarv to use the new milling system 
known as "flotation". In this system the ore is pulverized 
mills to a fineness of one hundred and fifty to 

e hundred mesh. And the material is passed through 
frothing machines where with the use of certain reagents 
the fluorspar, lead, and zinc is floated by the froth wl 
is then passed over vibrating tables and washed so that 
the remaini u terial is removed and the ores are 

■ de for use. 

Some of the mines have reached the depth today of 

ighl : [red feet and there is much seepage of water 

and in order to clear the mine of this water large and ex- 

;St he used. Some of these pumps 

throw from three to ten thousand gallons of water per 


The largest and deepest fluorspar mines : ' 

"clare for ' s have 


been more continuous at that point and gone on for a 
longer period than at other points of the county. Within 
recent } T ears large bodies of ore have been located some 
three to five miles north of Cavc-in-Rock and consider- 
able mining operations have been carried on there. Some 
of this mining is done by deep shaft and some by lateral 
mining or tunneling. 

The largest fluorspar mills in the world are located 
within the corporate limits of the City of Rosiclare. The 
other mines of consequence are located near Elizabeth- 
town, Cave-in-Rock, Eichorn and Karbers Ridge. 

Fluorspar in the Trades 

What we have written in the foregoing pages pertain 
particularly to the activities of mining and milling in 
Hardin County but we feel that we should follow these 
mineral products to the point of consumption and give the 
readers, many of whom are unfamiliar with this matter, 
a brief account of their uses. The high grade or acid 
fluorspar is used in making hydrofluoric acid. This acid 
is used in etching glass and in the preparation of sheet 
iron for galvanizing. The high grade is further used in 
making of opalescent glass and in enameling. Opales- 
cent glass has a white appearance and is used for table 
tops, lamp shades and other useful and ornamental glass 
fixtures. This glass may be seen in practically every 
home in the country in some form, as, the inside lining of 
the Mason fruit jar caps are made with the use of fluor- 
spar. It is high grade fluorspar that gives the beautiful 
white finish to bath tubs and other bathroom fixtures and 
it is also used in enameling kitchen utensils of various 
kinds. Fluorspar is used to make a synthetic cryolite and 
this is used in extracting alumina from the bauxite or 
aluminum ore. It is used in the refining of lead. Some 
cement companies use fluorspar in the making of ce- 
ment. There are still other uses but the foregoing are 
the principal ones. 


The lower grade of fluorspar which contains about 
eighty-five per cent calcium fluoride is used principally 
at the steel mills to speed up the heating processes of the 
smelting and to help purify the steel by removing the 
dross. About seven and one-half pounds of fluorspar 
is used in making a ton of steel. Although spar is used 
to some extent in the cupola furnaces it is a necessity in 
the open-hearth furnaces in which most steel is now made. 
With increased activities in steel making, in acid making, 
and in enameling works, the consumption of fluorspar 
rose from a few thousand tons annually in 1880 to approx- 
imately 200,000 tons in 1920. Some fluorspar is imported 
from Europe and other countries. 

Early Personalities 

The early citizens of our county seemed to be content 
to work at the mines and mills and probably thought little 
of passing information on down to future generations. 
Therefore we have refrained from going into detail of 
personalities of people who have operated the mines or 
were employed therein. 

We might, however, mention a few men of national 
reputation that were connected in some way with the 
fluorspar and lead industry in this section of the country. 
The earliest was General Andrew Jackson, later President, 
who operated mines in the Illinois-Kentucky district for 
lead. President William McKinley owned fluorspar prop- 
erty lying in this district although not directly in Hardin 
County. John R. McClean, newspaper publisher of Cin- 
cinnati and Washington, was the principal owner and at 
one time the operator of the Rosiclare Mines. The late 
Andrew Mellon was interested in the Fairview Mines. 
Many other men of more or less prominence have in the 
past one hundred years had something to do with mining 
in Hardin County. 


By Capt. R. F. Taylor 

Histories of the Early Churches 

Having been appointed one of the Committee for 
History of Hardin County for a Centennial Celebration, 
and having been assigned the subject, "Histories of the 
Early Churches", I give this as I can find from the various 
histories and records of churches in the land now Hardin 

I find that back in the year 1806, probably the first 
organized church in Hardin County was organized in a 
little log pen about two miles West of Elizabethtown in 
what was then known as English territory several years 
before it became the State of Illinois or the County of 
Pope or the County of Hardin. That church was called 
the Regular Baptist Church organized by William Rondo, 
Steven Stilley and others. It grew and prospered until it 
was fairly a large congregatoin. Other Baptist churches 
existed in the land now known as Hardin County. 

At that time and since that time an order called Gen- 
eral Baptists has grown extensively and is now strongly 
built in .many parts of the country. This seems to h ive 
been an order separated from the Regular Baptists in the 
third century and has existed as an independnt order ever 

There was also a Separatists Baptist in this country, 
which seemed to be of the same faith and order as the 
other churches. 

After some reasoning and arguments, on the 21st day 
of October 1827, at that time being Pope County, these 
churches met on the banks of Grand Pier Creek by pre- 
arrangement and united into one church, and from then 
on for several years called themselves United Baptists, 
taking in the Separatists and the Regular Baptists. 

A few years after that Charlie Clay, who entered the 


land where Hie Stuart Mines are mow, was a prominent 
preacher of that denomination and preached successfully 
for many years. 

These churches spread out to oilier parts of the coun- 
try and in their associations united Tennessee and Ken- 
tucky and up through Illinois. Afterwards dissension got 
among these denominations, and they again separated. 
Those who had belonged to the Regular Baptist gave 
themselves the name of the Regular Baptists. The others 
called themselves United Baptists, which existed for a 
good many years. For the last few years they are known 
as the Missionary Baptists. All have prospered and done 
a great deal of good for the country. The old Regular 
Baptist Church organized on Big Creek still exists, and 
its minutes of the old meetings are in possession of the 
Clerk, but it has drifted across the line into Pope County 
and is known as Grand Pier. 

A strong church at Elizabeth town called Non-Mission- 
ary, that went with the United Baptists since, is a part of 
the old Regular Baptist church organized in 1806 on Big 
Creek near Stone Church. 

Later Churches 

The Methodist Churches have been strong and done 
much good. Some great preachers existed in this Coun- 
ty, and at the time the present brick Methodist church was 
built, a very strong Revivalist by the name of Grabe was 
in charge of the church. Since then we have had many 
strong preachers. Among them it would be proper to 
mention the name of Barney Thompson. 

The Christian order have done much good in Hardin 
County. It has got some splendid members but not many 

Presbyterians have been strong and have done a 
great deal of good. 

Methodists were organized as early as any other 
church and has been a strong church ever since. 


Schools have improved greatly within the knowledge 
of this writer. They have gone from little log school- 
houses practically all over the county to much better build- 
ings built of good material and a much higher grade of 
teachers, who are making scholars out of people such as 
had no opportunity many years ago. The early schools 
were taught mostly by self-made teachers, who had but 
little opportunities to give themselves a higher education 
but much desire to learn. 

Many years ago it appeared these early churches of 
the various names were more enthusiastic and really ap- 
peared enjoy their religion to even a greater extent than 
the people do now. They would hold camp meetings in 
the woods and in passing nearby yon would hear the elo- 
quent sermons and the good women flouting with joy. 

Soldiers of Hardin County 

One Revolution soldier, Isaac Hobbs, lies buried in 
cemetery located on the SW SE Sec. 31 11 9. It is claimed 
that there are seven Civil War soldiers buried in same 
cemetery; all in unmarked graves. 

One soldier of 1812 served under Jackson at New 
Orleans, lies buried in Hardin Count}^, but writer does not 
know where. His name was Ginger. Among the most 
noted Civil War veterans were General Lucian Great- 
house and Colonel C. M. Ferrell. In 1832 this, then Pope 
County, furnished large share Blackhawk soldiers; among 
which was Isaac Martin, who built the little brick house 
near Stone church, just where the first Baptist church 
was organized and many years afterwards used the little 
old round log church house for a stable for horses. 

Company "D" 9th 111. V S was the only company 
furnished in Spanish American War, commanded by 
Captain Richard F. Taylor; W. B. Hincs First Lieutenant. 
Edward Ferrell, Second Lieutenant, and Harry Warson, 
Orderly Sergeant. They returned home after war was 
over with loss of six enlisted soldeirs. 


Pioneer Lawyers 

R. F. Wingate, Judge James Warren, Charles Burnett 
and J. B. Turner all before the Civil War. James Macklin. 

Lawyers since the Civil War can be noted as Colonel 
Charles Wilkinson of Confederate Army. Lieutenant W. 
S. Morris, L. F. Plater, C. H. Littlepage, Harry Boyer, 
Marion Moyers, Judge J. A. Ledbetter, Judge J. F. Taylor, 
L. F. Twitchell, R. F. Taylor, H. Robert Fowler, J. E. 
Denton, Noah Gullett, James A. Watson, Clarence Soward 
and James G. Gullett. 

Under the Constitution of 1848 we had such dis- 
tinguished District Attorneys as John A. Logan, Sam Mar- 
shall and Marion Youngblood. 

Since the Constitution of 1870 those who have served 
as State's Attorneys are as follows: W. S. Morris, L. F. 
Plater, J. Q. A. Ledbetter, H. Robert Fowler, Richard F. 
Taylor, James A. Watson, Noah Gullett, James E. Denton, 
John C. Oxford and Clarence E. Soward. Hardin County 
has never had a Circuit Judge and only one Congressman 
(H. Robert Fowler). Only three lawyers, Judges J. Q. A. 
Ledbetter, J. F. Taylor and James G. Gullett, have ever 
been County Judge. 

Hardin County has only two Ex-State Senators: H. 
R. Fowler and A. A. Miles. Dr. W. N. Ayers, L. F. Plater, 
W. S. Morris, R. R. Lacy, H. R. Fowler, James A. Watson 
and Richard F. Taylor have served in Legislature. 

There are only four licensed lawyers in Hardin Coun- 
ty at this time, Richard F. Taylor licensed in 1882; James 
A. Watson in 1896; Clarence E. Soward, 1910 and Judge 
Gullett in 1934, all teaching the people to do good. 

Pioneer Ministers 

Among the pioneer preachers of Hardin County, we 
note the names of William Rondo and Steven Stilley. 
Soon afterwards the Reverend Charlie Clay, all of the 
Regular Baptist order. 


The earliest General Baptist preachers, who appear to 
have organized their denomination, we find John Gregory, 
Abner Dutton, John Tucker, Albert Briggs and John 

Of the Christian order we find the Reverend Joel 
Coghill, David Warford and others. 

Catholics have a strong church in Hardin County. 
Among their leaders we find such men as John B. Han- 
kin, Father Hankin had charge of that church some forty 
years ago. Father Sonnan had charge of the church about 
twelve years ago. He was a highly educated priest, a 
great scholar and orator. He did much good in the com- 
munity. Father Reish has been the priest for the past six 
years and appears to be a very able man. 

Other General Baptist Ministers who deserve mention- 
ing are Horace Foster, William Rose, Elihu Oxford and 
James Oxford. 

Teachers and Educators 

Among the early educators of Hardin County, I would 
recall the names of H. Robert Fowler, who was the first 
teacher to come to Hardin County, who had a diploma, a 
graduate of the Normal University. He taught many 
years at Cave-in-Rock. Soon afterwards John H. Jenkins 
of Hardin County finished his educatoni at the Old Nor- 
mal University, Bloomington, Illinois and at Carbondale. 
They were followed by such teachers as John H. Oxford, 
E. N. Hall and our present worthy superintendent, Clyde 
Flynn. The schools have prospered greatly with such 
Superintendents of School as John H. Jenkins for nine 
years, John Womack, Hattie Rittenhouse, John H. Oxford. 
Many others deserve mention, but space forbids. Schools 
are now being well handled by our present worthy Su- 
perintendent, Clyde L. Flynn. 

Among the first ladies to graduate at the State Uni- 
versity at Carbondale were Eunice Taylor, in 1909, and 


Gertrude Tyre, in 1910. Since then nearly all of the 
teachers from Hardin County have been attending those 
Universities, are well trained and teaching the best of 

Concluding Remarks 

It is very evident from history that the General Bap- 
tist church divided from the Regular Baptist in the third 
Century and have existed as a separate body for over 
seventeen hundred years; claiming to be the true follow- 
ers of Christ. But the old Regulars claim that John the 
Baptist baptized Christ and that it established the Baptist 
church as the true church of Christ and that the Bible 
tells us that John and Christ went down into the water to- 
gether and that they both came up out of the water, thus 
inferring that John certainly put Christ clear under the 

But now comes the Reverend G. L. Hancock and 
claims that Paul was taught to preach Missionary doctrine 
and that the Missionary Baptist is the true church. The. 
writer now knows of about eight denominations of Bap- 
tist all claiming to be the church of John the Baptist. So 
the writer has about concluded that "There is so much 
good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us 
that it illy becomes any of us to talk against the rest of us". 

(By Judge Hall) 

As people usually do in staging such enterprises as 
Centennials, we allowed time to slip upon us; and in our 
hurried selection of subjects, we overlooked forestry and 
conservation, two subjects that touch our country very 
materially. So as the printer is at work on the other ma- 
terial, some of the committee have suggested that I jot 
down a few thoughts as lessons at least for our youths. 


Since our civilization is built of wood, it becomes a rather 
grave question, "How are we going to maintain the com- 
forts of life when timber is gone?" 

Hardin County uplands surrounded by ever-rising 
vapors from her adjacent swamplands and rivers, grew 
a surprisingly heavy and dense forest. Pioneers used to 
say in wonder that they had never laid eyes upon such 
giant oaks, hickories, maples, and poplars as sheltered our 
hills and vales. And it is yet said in wonder that Hardin 
and Pope counties have as many acres of timber stands as 
the rest of the state of Illinois. 

It is a point worthy the notation of history that the 
U. S. Government has chosen this section for a national 
forest project, and appropriately named it for the Shaw- 
nees who once roamed these forests as their "Happiest 
Hunting Ground." The Peters Creek Observation Tower 
stands only a little east of the center of our county. The 
High Knob Tower stands on the Gallatin County line over- 
looking our country from the north. While Williams 
Hill and Raum Towers overlook us on the west from the 
Pope County hills. So government eyes hold daily vigi- 
lance over our forests from four towers. Thus eyes look 
down upon us from elevations 1000 feet above sea level 
and 640 feet above the Ohio River. The government has 
been buying lands for this Shawnee Project about 10 
years, and still has lands in process of transfers v so that 
just now I am not prepared to give the acreage in exact 
figures, but it runs well into thousands, and when com- 
pleted it will aggregate other thousands. 

Different Views of Forests 

Ancient Nomads believed that forests were set upon 
the earth as a curse for man's disobedience. In the woods 
hid ravenous beasts which preyed upon their flocks, ami 
the ugly dragons of their stories all lived in the dark for- 
ests. They hated forests and burnt them in the hope 
"to make the whole earth one vast pastureland " 


When our grandfathers came to Hardin County, they 
came with axes in hand. Never did man meet a more 
stubborn forest, and never did a stubborn forest meet a 
more sleepless, untiring race of men. They believed to 
clear away a useless forest meant to build homes and 
establish an empire. Then and there began a war upon 
trees which lasted day and night for a hundred years. 

Every summer about "dog days" they belted 10, 15, 
or 20 acres more of timber land. Next March they set 
fire to these "deadenings," and some great forest fires 
raged, as men followed to roll the logs into heaps and 
burn them at night by the light of their own fires. From 
my bedroom window I've watched fires climb tall dead 
trees many a night, delighted to see slabs of burning bark 
and limbs come down followed by fiery trails, like comets 
falling from the skies. 

They also believed that timber was worse than worth- 
less; it was a curse to lands. There were two subjects 
which those sturdy, farmers never seemd to tire of. One 
was just how to belt a tree on the light of the moon, or 
during dog days, or when the Zodiac sign was in the heart, 
in order to "make a shore shot ter kill 'er dead."' The 
other was just where a certain piece of road could be 
put in order to place it on lands that could not be tended. 
Their indefatigable industry succeeded with both pro- 
jects, they killed the timber and put the roads on lands 
that could not be tilled, or traveled either. 

Timber Became Valuable 

Our forefathers are not to be blamed for their iron 
industry in clearing timber from good lands; but in their 
hatred for trees, they destroyed valuable timber on lands 
worthless for anything else than the growing of timber, 
and it soon became valuable. However, when it did so, 
some of the finest timber in Hardin County was stolen 
by timber-thieves. Some have criticised me for writing 


of the outlaws of Hardin County. But I believe a writer 
should hew to the line, letting the chips fall as they may. 
This is one reason the Bible has held its place through 
the ages as a History of Truth. It lays bare the bad as 
well as the good, not even sparing kings and nobles. 

That Hardin County in pioneer days was infested and 
even ruled by outlaws cannot be denied. We may seek 
to pass these things up as legends, but legend usually 
has truth behind its stories. When the writer was ten 
years old, a big portly looking fellow posed craftily as 
a government timber dealer, and passed under the name 
of Hornbuckle; but many lived under assumed names 
here in early days. He bought and had men to raft in Lit- 
tle Saline just east of Mount Zion Church the finest lot 
of logs that ever grew in the Hard Wood Section of our 

When the work was done, he waited for the coming 
of a government pay clerk to settle for it all. About the 
middle of that September while they were expecting the 
pay clerk any day, a week's rainy weather came on. To 
the dismay and disappointment of many timber sellers 
and workmen, it was discovered that Hornbuckle and his 
immense lot of timber had floated away with the freshet. 
Later on, but too late, it was discovered that this timber 
thief with his cargo floated into Memphis, but neither 
he nor the pay checks ever floated back to Hardin County 
people. This is only one of many such swindles of those 
notorious days. 

The Sawmill Age 

About 1870 sons of pioneers began to tear away log 
huts and to replace them with framed dwellings and box 
ed barns. This was the age of the sawmill, cooper fac- 
tory, vehicle factory, handle factory, furniture factories, 
paper mills, and tie-hacks; all calling for immense 
amounts of limber stands. From 1870 till 1910 statistics 


say that for every tree that grew in our Ozark forests ten 
trees fell. It was that age when "the axe was laid at the 
root of the tree." Now the timber is gone and 10 million 
workmen are idle, and economists fear that they will be 
idle a long time. The Mississippi Valley in which Hardin 
County lies is now paying 10 million dollars a year in 
freight rates to have lumber supplies hauled from the 
Gulf and Pacific coast forests. With this added to other 
costs, we have learned the value of timber at last. 

Had our forefathers foreseen these things, much 
wealth could have been saved for their sons and daugh- 
ters; but as it is, I cannot estimate the thousands of dol- 
lars that timber has brought into our county. 

A Valuable Industry 

Our older citizens remember well the days of timber 
works here which furnished meat and bread for a lot of 
us fellows in our teens when our appetites were at their 
best. They can tell us some wonderful stories of the 
days when such companies worked our forests as Brunns 
and Braur&aux, Aaron Lloyd Tie Company, and the John 
Maxwell Stave Company. These also furnished hauling 
to a lot of teemsters in those horse-and-wagon days, pay- 
ing good money for hauling. About 1895 the Maxwell 
Company worked a paying set just west of the T. B. 
Rutherford farm, and soon they advertised for haulers. 
One morning Mr. Brunns lined up about a dozen new 
haulers, asking for their names rather hurriedly. One 
gave his name Smith, another Jones, and so on, till 
he came to a rather excellent teamster named Thomas 
(In ess. Tom like others answered his question with his 
last name, calling out "Guess." Whereupon Mr. Brunns 
impatiently demanded, "How the devil can I guess vour 
nan a, when 1 never saw you befor. 

A Stavi Culler 

timber business like other bi - ; ses can find 


common workmen rather easily, but skilled, dependable 
men are always difficult to find, and are always in de- 
mand. Tie companies had much difficulty in finding that 
sort of men, but when they do find such a man as William 
Irby, of our county, they hold on to him with increasing 

The writer happened to learn of these things per- 
taining to the stave business. The oil companies, as well 
as the whisky, and beer companies demanded particular 
qualities and measurements for their vessels, and tim- 
her companies had to meet their demands or lose their 
patronage. I intruded upon and forced our County Clerk 
A. H. Wooten to lay his books aside for a storm of cross 
questions pertaining to all this. It was said that the Max- 
well Company gave him the credit of having the quickest 
and best eye for judging and culling staves that they had 
ever tested, and they kept him on the job through some 
large sets in Hardin County; but he told me that they also 
used him as their stave culler in Kentucky and in Tenn- 
essee a few years after they moved from Hardin County. 
That was before Mr. Wooton's quick eye had learned to 
cull voters. 

Climatic Value of Forests 

Only in the last few decades scholars, called conserv- 
ationists, have discovered that trees are given by an All- 
Wise Creator for the comforts of man and for a protective 
covering of the earth from extremes of climate and 
weather. They now know that the three great deserts of 
the earth were anciently three cradle homes for the three 
races of mankind; that these millions of square 1 miles of 
sandy wastes were once blessed with rivers and 1 
cities and villages, forests and glades. Hulks of ships and 
boats have been discovered with many other artifacts of 
man .as well as large petrified trees, all off< ri silent 
evidences buried in sifting sands that those wilder 


wastes prehistorically were forested homelands of happy 
people. But as charred remains prove, they burnt their 
forests to "make the whole earth one vast pastureland." 
A maddened climate followed with teeth of hot stinging 
sands, which drove them pell-mell from their homelands. 
Now a climate rules the day which lifts thermometers to 
150 degrees, but that night, with no tree covers and waters 
to ameliorate temperature, ice will often freeze. The 
black hot simooms of Sahara hurled black dust into the 
very skin pores of man, driving the Black Bace into the 
jungles of Africa. The white dust of Punjab Desert of 
Asia likewise drove the White Bace from its unbearable 
climate, and the yellow sands of Gobi hurled a Yellow 
Bace out of those plateaus from which the Yellow Biver 
rose and flowed into the Yellow Sea. Scholars now be- 
lieve that deserts are man-made instead of God-made. 

Conservationists Warn Us 

Hence scientists are asking us if Hardin County and 
the Ozarks will change, can they change as much during 
the next hundred years as they have changed during the 
last? What will Hardin County be like when our next 
centennial rolls around? Tests have shown that the water 
table under the Ozarks has steadily sunk /an inch a year 
for 25 years, and many fine springs have discontinued 
their flows. They further tell us that in summer months 
a large tree brings up water from ground storages and 
breaths out from the leaf stomata vapor enough in 24 
hours to condense into a barrel of water. It is believed 
that this forest vapor very largely accounted for the heavy 
dews and summer showers that grew the finest peaehblow 
potatoes for our grandfathers. 

It is likewise argued that forest shelters held snows 
i melting and held warm waves back for "old time 
winters." But since the forests are gone winter rains turn 
In !o torrents 


Mr. George Ledbetter, who had bought wheat from many 
sections, even from the spring-wheat fields of the Dako- 
tas, told the writer more than once that the wheat with I he 
heaviest test and from which was ground the best flour 
that ever went out of his mills, was grown on the plateaus 
of Hardin County. 

When the writer was a boy, he had to climb the 
banisters of Jas. Brownfield's porch to see the combs of 
the Arch Rutherford house and barn, by looking over one 
of those fine wheat plateaus. A few months ago he stood 
on the porch floor and saw 10 or 12 feet of those roofs. 
The heights of none of the buildings have been changed, 
but the damaging tooth of erosion has gnawed 60 or 70 
inches from that broad plateau; so that it will not grow 
wheat now. I decided that day that these figures would 
hold good for thousands of acres in Hardin County. Be- 
cause of this steady loss of our top-soils by winter freshets, 
we have lost the most valuable crop Hardin County ever 
raised; but by that erosion we lost a more valuable heri- 
tage than wheat-growing, and that was the virgin soils, 
the inherent wealth of a country. 

Are Fruits Going? 

We are assured by scholars that our climate is in 
danger of losing its evenness. The first hot winds ever 
felt in Hardin County schorched corn-tassels in August 
1898, but since then they are becoming more and more 
common. In 1930 and 1936 the Western Desert laid 
claims to more than a million of acres of fine lands 
of the Great Plains. Even Congress became somewhat 
alarmed, when dust from the Western Dust Bowl 
threatened to becloud the noonday sun in Washington, 
D. C. They called scientists in for expert testimony. 
One scholar warningly said, "Gentlemen, our forests arc 
gone, and our climate will go. In a hundred years from 
now the western line of the American Desert will be the 
Mississippi river." 


Should such a thing happen, Hardin County will have 
no fruit at our next centennial, for good fruits go first 
before an arid climate. One fruit company alone in the 
Arkansas fruit belt reported that in the drouths and hot 
winds of 30 and 36, they lost a million apple trees. It is 
an evil omen that such wealthy companies are now leaving 
the Ozarks to invest in the more equable climates along 
the coasts of the U. S. 

The government now owns more than thirteen thous- 
and acres of land in Hardin County. It hopes to save our 
forests and therefore our climate, but the government 
cannot do so alone. That is too large a task for the gov- 
ernment. A hundred million people can devastate i 
country of many more trees than any government can 
plant and grow. We must teach forestry to our youths 
and the love of trees to our children. We must plant 
trees, protect and grow trees for our comfort, our health, 
and the conservation of our county and country. Teach 
in the spirit of Joyce Kilmer: 

"Poems are made by fools like me, 
But only God can make a tree." 












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